"Mistrust those in whom the urge to punish is strong." Friedrich Nietzche

"Any and all non-violent, non-coercive, non-larcenous, consensual adult behavior that does not physically harm other people or their property or directly and immediately endangers same, that does not disturb the peace or create a public nuisance, and that is done in private, especially on private property, is the inalienable right of all adults. In a truly free and liberty-loving society, ruled by a secular government, no laws should be passed to prohibit such behavior. Any laws now existing that are contrary to the above definition of inalienable rights are violations of the rights of adults and should be made null and void." D. M. Mitchell (from The Myth of Inalienable Rights, at: http://dowehaverights.blogspot.com/)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Why the rights of those you disagree with are important

We are still involved in the longest, most socially destructive war in America's history: the so-called war on drugs. A large majority of the citizens of this once great nation are in agreement that the government has the legitimate power to violate the inalienable rights of those whose drug behavior does not violate the rights of their fellow citizens. Why? Is it that the average person is stupid? Is it that the average person can't be bothered to think . . . and to think logically? Is it that the average person believes that the government knows best how to control his or her life? Or is it that because the "common wisdom" is that the use of addictive and dangerous drugs in a recreational, non-medical manner is bad, so therefore the rights of those people who do use said drugs can be legitimately violated?

I believe it is a combination of all the above, but with the emphasis on the last question. But let's discuss this issue logically. Alcohol and tobacco are accepted drugs of recreational, non-medical use; tobacco less so, but still not completely unacceptable among the social majority. That fact is proven by tobacco's legal-to-adults status. Yet, those two substances are the two most harmful non-medical substances in our society. Further, almost all of the violence and much of the harm to the health of the users of the presently illegal drugs comes, not from the mere use of those substances, but rather from their illegal status. (Violent street gangs, violent drug cartels, and terrorists would have a hard time financially without the illegal status of those substances.)

If we (logically) agree that the government was given the legitimate constitutional power to stop behavior that is harmful to ourselves (which I emphatically disagree with)--that is, violate the rights of people whose behavior we may not agree with but which does not violate the rights of innocent others--then why can't the government prohibit the intake of excess calories and "empty" calorie foods? Why can't the government, using the same rationale used in the so-called war on drugs, make all of us go on a calorie restricted and healthy diet for life?

Think of all the lives we could save. It has been estimated by the Center for Disease Control that there are 300,000 premature deaths from obesity every year. That is between 15 to 30 times more such deaths than is caused by all the illegal drugs (depending on whose drug death statistics you agree with). I think we need to have a national movement to get the government to force all those overeaters to go on healthy diets. I think that there needs to be national food ration cards and government clinics to check up on all of us, even the skinny ones, just in case. Yes, let's violate the right of all the citizens and force them into National Socialist Bureaucratic way of thinking just so we can save the lives of those who won't control themselves--their weight and their health.

If the logic works for the, overall, much less harmful presently illegal drugs, how much more will it work for alcohol, tobacco, and poor diets. Let's give the government all our power over our lives so that it can keep us safe from ourselves. In the alternative, let's give all adults back their inalienable rights and only criminally prosecute those who violate the rights of others (the true definition of a crime). Then, and only then will we have a more free and liberty-loving society, if that is even what "the people" now want. Then and only then will the United States, the so-called land of liberty, stop being the world's largest jailer. And only then will the "drug" problem be put into its proper perspective, as a personal problem like obesity; to be tolerated but not causing a never-ending, rights-violating, multi-billion-dollar-per-year "war".

One last warning: The power you give to the government--when you give up certain inalienable rights--to control behavior that you disagree with, but which does not violate your rights or the rights of others, can and eventually will be used against you or your children. The Founding Fathers of the United States of America knew and said that the greatest threat to the freedom and liberty of the people was their own government. Many of us have either forgotten that or never learned it.

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