"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/)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Self-Mutilation Versus the War on Drugs

I came across an old newspaper clipping the other day from 1996. The article was about two different men who self-mutilated themselves. One cut his penis off, the other one shot himself in the groin with a shotgun. The mutilations happened in Phoenix.

Why I saved the article was the lie that the Phoenix police spokesman told when asked about the incidents. He said, “It’s no crime. You can do whatever you want to your own body.”

Why is that a lie? Had those two men been smoking a marijuana cigarette and had the police spokesman, Sgt. Mike Torres, observed them, he would have arrested them for possession of a controlled substance. They would only have been doing what they wanted to with their “own bodies,” and they would not have been violating the rights of others.

A person can horribly mutilate himself and its not a crime. Okay, fine. I can understand that. But merely using a recreational drug—one that every government commission that has ever studied it has concluded is less harmful than alcohol—is a crime? It might be a sin by some moral standards, but how can it be a crime? A real crime should involve harming some other person.

The only conclusion that I can draw is that we really don’t own our bodies. The government does and the government decides what behavior, to your own body, you can and cannot do even if that behavior does not harm other people.

So what is the so-called war on drugs all about? If the government actually has the legitimate constitutional power to stop people from using recreational drugs then shouldn’t the government make the most harmful of those drugs a priority?

The substance, tobacco, is the most harmful recreational “drug” in America, racking up more than 400,000 deaths per year. Then there is the disease and suffering and lost production leading up to those deaths that tobacco causes. That would seem a really good drug for the government to fight a so-called war over . . . if the government had the legitimate power to do so, and if the government’s purpose was to protect us from ourselves.

Then there is alcohol, not nearly as bad as tobacco in sheer numbers of deaths. I’ve seen estimated as low as 85,000 deaths per year from the use of alcohol to as high as 200,000. But what is really interesting about alcohol, according to the federal government’s own statistics, is that it is the number one violence-causing drug in America.

The use and abuse of alcohol leads to more than fifty percent of all violent crime, including murders, rapes, and robberies. It’s abuse by pregnant women is also the number one cause of retardation in newborns. So, again, if the government has the legitimate power to fight a war on drugs and the legitimate power to protect us from our own bad choices, then alcohol should the number two enemy in the war on drugs.

But of course the government doesn’t have the legitimate constitutional power to tell people what they can and cannot do with their bodies as long as those people are not violating the right of others. The government took the power and the U.S. Supreme Court legitimized it. The so-called war on drugs is a war on the inalienable rights of otherwise honest, peaceful citizens and it is based on a religious principle that those drugs are immoral therefore they should be illegal.

In a truly free and liberty-loving society, one in which the government upheld the principle of inalienable rights and protected those rights, then an adult (no minors allowed) would not only have the right to mutilate his or her body, but to use any drug they wanted, just as long as their behavior did not violate the rights of others.

I do not advocate drug use by anyone, even tobacco and alcohol. And I strongly suspect that those people who would seriously mutilate their bodies, as well as drug abusers, need counseling and the active support of their family and friends to help them overcome their problems..

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