Libertarianism vs. Conservatism

I know some of you are libertarians and some of you are Ron Paul fans.  What do you think of Paul’s proposal at the Republican presidential candidate debate to legalize prostitution and drugs?  What do you think of Michael Gerson’s smackdown of Paul and his proposals?

Paul was the only candidate at the debate to make news, calling for the repeal of laws against prostitution, cocaine and heroin. The freedom to use drugs, he argued, is equivalent to the freedom of people to “practice their religion and say their prayers.” Liberty must be defended “across the board.” “It is amazing that we want freedom to pick our future in a spiritual way,” he said, “but not when it comes to our personal habits.”

This argument is strangely framed: If you tolerate Zoroastrianism, you must be able to buy heroin at the quickie mart. But it is an authentic application of libertarianism, which reduces the whole of political philosophy to a single slogan: Do what you will — pray or inject or turn a trick — as long as no one else gets hurt.

Even by this permissive standard, drug legalization fails. The de facto decriminalization of drugs in some neighborhoods — say, in Washington, D.C. — has encouraged widespread addiction. Children, freed from the care of their addicted parents, have the liberty to play in parks decorated by used needles. Addicts are liberated into lives of prostitution and homelessness. Welcome to Paulsville, where people are free to take soul-destroying substances and debase their bodies to support their “personal habits.”

But Paul had an answer to this criticism. “How many people here would use heroin if it were legal? I bet nobody would,” he said to applause and laughter. Paul was claiming that good people — people like the Republicans in the room — would not abuse their freedom, unlike those others who don’t deserve our sympathy.

The problem, of course, is that even people in the room may have sons or daughters who have struggled with addiction. Or maybe even have personal experience with the freedom that comes from alcohol and drug abuse. One imagines they did not laugh or cheer.

Libertarians often cover their views with a powdered wig of 18th- and 19th-century philosophy. They cite Locke, Smith and Mill as advocates of a peaceable kingdom — a utopia of cooperation and spontaneous order. But the reality of libertarianism was on display in South Carolina. Paul concluded his answer by doing a jeering rendition of an addict’s voice: “Oh yeah, I need the government to take care of me. I don’t want to use heroin, so I need these laws.” Paul is not content to condemn a portion of his fellow citizens to self-destruction; he must mock them in their decline. Such are the manners found in Paulsville.

This is not “The Wealth of Nations” or the “Second Treatise of Government.” It is Social Darwinism. It is the arrogance of the strong. It is contempt for the vulnerable and suffering.

The conservative alternative to libertarianism is necessarily more complex. It is the teaching of classical political philosophy and the Jewish and Christian traditions that true liberty must be appropriate to human nature. The freedom to enslave oneself with drugs is the freedom of the fish to live on land or the freedom of birds to inhabit the ocean — which is to say, it is not freedom at all. Responsible, self-governing citizens do not grow wild like blackberries. They are cultivated in institutions — families, religious communities and decent, orderly neighborhoods. And government has a limited but important role in reinforcing social norms and expectations — including laws against drugs and against the exploitation of men and women in the sex trade.

via Ron Paul’s land of second-rate values – The Washington Post.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.infobarrel.com/Users/Snafu Snafu

    I’ve called myself a libertarian – with certain reserved attitude related to the specific issues above. If the word means solely the naive maxim of “Do what you will as long as no one else gets hurt.”, I might find myself a new word to describe the views I have (but not change the views themselves, of course).

    I mean the principle itself is basically good. But as all political guidelines, without a context and a limit, it simply won’t work. All one-eyed absolutism in politics leads to consequences no one wanted originally. Why would this principle be an exception?

    In practice: it would be ideal if the state would allow the citizens as much freedom as possible, as long as they don’t harm others. But this fallen world contains people who will use this freedom to harm other people anyway, which will lead to the expansion of authorities (ie. police) controlling the few laws even libertarians would want to have. This calls for more taxes, which in turn reduces freedom from the economic point of view.

    My question to fellow libertarians: what to do with the issues that in principle should be allowed, but in practice tend to lead to less liberty?

  • http://www.infobarrel.com/Users/Snafu Snafu

    I’ve called myself a libertarian – with certain reserved attitude related to the specific issues above. If the word means solely the naive maxim of “Do what you will as long as no one else gets hurt.”, I might find myself a new word to describe the views I have (but not change the views themselves, of course).

    I mean the principle itself is basically good. But as all political guidelines, without a context and a limit, it simply won’t work. All one-eyed absolutism in politics leads to consequences no one wanted originally. Why would this principle be an exception?

    In practice: it would be ideal if the state would allow the citizens as much freedom as possible, as long as they don’t harm others. But this fallen world contains people who will use this freedom to harm other people anyway, which will lead to the expansion of authorities (ie. police) controlling the few laws even libertarians would want to have. This calls for more taxes, which in turn reduces freedom from the economic point of view.

    My question to fellow libertarians: what to do with the issues that in principle should be allowed, but in practice tend to lead to less liberty?

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    “I think Ron Paul is great he is a constitutionalist and he would not do this and that and he would go back and he would do that and bring our boys home and forget about going overseas and not spend any money and get rid of all taxes and not talk to Israel or Egypt and build a bigger fence and not win one electoral vote and be a nut and be responsible and how about that birth certificate and how about lin Baden and what about the deficit and 911 truthers and…”

    I have two friends at work who believe our own government blew up the Twin Trade Towers. They both love Ron Paul. ‘Nuff said.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    “I think Ron Paul is great he is a constitutionalist and he would not do this and that and he would go back and he would do that and bring our boys home and forget about going overseas and not spend any money and get rid of all taxes and not talk to Israel or Egypt and build a bigger fence and not win one electoral vote and be a nut and be responsible and how about that birth certificate and how about lin Baden and what about the deficit and 911 truthers and…”

    I have two friends at work who believe our own government blew up the Twin Trade Towers. They both love Ron Paul. ‘Nuff said.

  • SKPeterson

    Ah, yes, the Social Darwinism canard. See! He doesn’t CARE about the people! The poor addicts and prostitutes. He’ll just leave them to rot!

    What Gerson doesn’t answer is – if the laws are so effective, why are there still so many addicts and prostitutes? Is filling up our prisons with these people really providing for the needs he says the libertarians dismiss? I don’t see how he can credibly claim that it does. There are already children left to roam free, unattended by their addicted parents – how would he address this situation, other than arguing that the laws we already have are serving communities very well and doing just as they intended? Gerson’s sentimental argument fails, fails, fails.

    Gerson also makes the leap that libertarianism = libertinism. Again, fail. In fact Gerson hits the nail on the head on what libertarianism truly is when he describes conservatism: “Responsible, self-governing citizens do not grow wild like blackberries. They are cultivated in institutions — families, religious communities and decent, orderly neighborhoods.” I don’t see a whole lot of government in there – just ordinary people looking out for their families and communities. But, hey, when you can armor up the local police force, deck them out in urban camo, and give them light tanks in the name of combating drugs, to hell with small government – we’ve got a Guatemala to build here. (Apologies for the gratuitous swipe at Guatemala – I just watched El Norte, so it’s fresh on the mind.)

    The responsibility for eliminating drug addiction and prostitution lies precisely in our homes, our houses of worship, and our neighborhoods, not in a government seeking to fulfill “a limited but important role.” How limited is the drug war? Not very. How limited is government’s ability to deal adequately with the human costs of addiction and prostitution? Very. And that is Gerson’s biggest argumentative failure: point the finger at Paul for saying that government is not the solution, and then say everything is fine and the current system protects the weak and vulnerable while being “limited,” all evidence to the contrary. I agree with the sentiment from Daniel Larison in The American Conservative that describes Gerson’s ideas as a “saccharine paternalism.” How quaint and leftist.

  • SKPeterson

    Ah, yes, the Social Darwinism canard. See! He doesn’t CARE about the people! The poor addicts and prostitutes. He’ll just leave them to rot!

    What Gerson doesn’t answer is – if the laws are so effective, why are there still so many addicts and prostitutes? Is filling up our prisons with these people really providing for the needs he says the libertarians dismiss? I don’t see how he can credibly claim that it does. There are already children left to roam free, unattended by their addicted parents – how would he address this situation, other than arguing that the laws we already have are serving communities very well and doing just as they intended? Gerson’s sentimental argument fails, fails, fails.

    Gerson also makes the leap that libertarianism = libertinism. Again, fail. In fact Gerson hits the nail on the head on what libertarianism truly is when he describes conservatism: “Responsible, self-governing citizens do not grow wild like blackberries. They are cultivated in institutions — families, religious communities and decent, orderly neighborhoods.” I don’t see a whole lot of government in there – just ordinary people looking out for their families and communities. But, hey, when you can armor up the local police force, deck them out in urban camo, and give them light tanks in the name of combating drugs, to hell with small government – we’ve got a Guatemala to build here. (Apologies for the gratuitous swipe at Guatemala – I just watched El Norte, so it’s fresh on the mind.)

    The responsibility for eliminating drug addiction and prostitution lies precisely in our homes, our houses of worship, and our neighborhoods, not in a government seeking to fulfill “a limited but important role.” How limited is the drug war? Not very. How limited is government’s ability to deal adequately with the human costs of addiction and prostitution? Very. And that is Gerson’s biggest argumentative failure: point the finger at Paul for saying that government is not the solution, and then say everything is fine and the current system protects the weak and vulnerable while being “limited,” all evidence to the contrary. I agree with the sentiment from Daniel Larison in The American Conservative that describes Gerson’s ideas as a “saccharine paternalism.” How quaint and leftist.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Steve Martin @ 1,
    Non-sequitur. Not all libertarian/Paul supporters (like yours truly) believe that.

    As for the author of the column cited above, I simply point to prohibition: the illegality of a product does not eliminate the use of that product. Furthermore, J. Edgar Hoover once made this point about law enforcement personnel and drugs: men can be bribed. He did not want the FBI involved in anything involving drug wars. He was right.

    What I would rather see is stricter penalties attached to crimes committed while under the influence.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Steve Martin @ 1,
    Non-sequitur. Not all libertarian/Paul supporters (like yours truly) believe that.

    As for the author of the column cited above, I simply point to prohibition: the illegality of a product does not eliminate the use of that product. Furthermore, J. Edgar Hoover once made this point about law enforcement personnel and drugs: men can be bribed. He did not want the FBI involved in anything involving drug wars. He was right.

    What I would rather see is stricter penalties attached to crimes committed while under the influence.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    Although I like and support Ron Paul despite it, bits of philosophy like this are why I stopped being a libertarian. The problem with trying to reduce law or ethics to “do whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt anyone” is that it does not provide any content for “hurt.” There might be times and places where such content can be safely assumed, but nowadays, this merely provides a back door for one to take a similarly reductionistic approach to humanity. If you reduce hurt to violated consent, you lose any legitimate concept of taking advantage of someone. If you reduce it to pain, you have to ignore pain’s valuable ability to indicate that something besides the pain itself is wrong. If you reduce it to complaint, practicality w/ respect to whinier citizens demands that you start deciding which complaints “count” and which do not on some other hidden basis. Any way you slice it, you wind up with politics based on a truncated sense of human beings.

    There are plenty of problems with our drug laws that might suggest a radical change, but the typical libertarian insistence that law and morality be not merely distinct but utterly separated is fundamentally incoherent.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    Although I like and support Ron Paul despite it, bits of philosophy like this are why I stopped being a libertarian. The problem with trying to reduce law or ethics to “do whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt anyone” is that it does not provide any content for “hurt.” There might be times and places where such content can be safely assumed, but nowadays, this merely provides a back door for one to take a similarly reductionistic approach to humanity. If you reduce hurt to violated consent, you lose any legitimate concept of taking advantage of someone. If you reduce it to pain, you have to ignore pain’s valuable ability to indicate that something besides the pain itself is wrong. If you reduce it to complaint, practicality w/ respect to whinier citizens demands that you start deciding which complaints “count” and which do not on some other hidden basis. Any way you slice it, you wind up with politics based on a truncated sense of human beings.

    There are plenty of problems with our drug laws that might suggest a radical change, but the typical libertarian insistence that law and morality be not merely distinct but utterly separated is fundamentally incoherent.

  • Booklover

    Those of us with moral fiber have a natural inclination to recoil at Ron Paul’s proposal. Those of us with addicted spouses, children, and in-laws reflect with sadness on what an apparent acceptance of addictive substances might do.

    Yet those of us with addicted relatives ponder that, for the most part, they are addicted to a *legal* substance.

  • Booklover

    Those of us with moral fiber have a natural inclination to recoil at Ron Paul’s proposal. Those of us with addicted spouses, children, and in-laws reflect with sadness on what an apparent acceptance of addictive substances might do.

    Yet those of us with addicted relatives ponder that, for the most part, they are addicted to a *legal* substance.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Neither the elevation of the collective/community as supreme (as in Marxist liberation theology) nor the elevation of the individual as supreme (as in libertarianism) is Biblical. The same error exists in both: ignoring the depth of the stain of human sin. Libertarianism is just a liberation theology of the right.

  • http://geochristian.wordpress.com/ Kevin N

    Neither the elevation of the collective/community as supreme (as in Marxist liberation theology) nor the elevation of the individual as supreme (as in libertarianism) is Biblical. The same error exists in both: ignoring the depth of the stain of human sin. Libertarianism is just a liberation theology of the right.

  • Eric Brown

    The question becomes this – do law make people moral? Are we able by law and prohibition make people “better”? The Law never gives life… and all the prohibition in the world won’t make people “better”.

    What Ron Paul describes, with legal heroin, legal prostitution, is simply the first 130-150 years of the US’s existence. It’s not as though he’s proposing something that this world has never seen – he’s pointing out the way things use to be before we got this tom-fool idea that we ought to us the government to make people better (i.e. make people do what *I* want them to do). How much money do we spend on prosecuting drug crimes and incarceration there fore? How violent are the gangs that try to corner the market on the drug trade.

    I’m from Chicago. It was a safer city when prohibition went away.

  • Eric Brown

    The question becomes this – do law make people moral? Are we able by law and prohibition make people “better”? The Law never gives life… and all the prohibition in the world won’t make people “better”.

    What Ron Paul describes, with legal heroin, legal prostitution, is simply the first 130-150 years of the US’s existence. It’s not as though he’s proposing something that this world has never seen – he’s pointing out the way things use to be before we got this tom-fool idea that we ought to us the government to make people better (i.e. make people do what *I* want them to do). How much money do we spend on prosecuting drug crimes and incarceration there fore? How violent are the gangs that try to corner the market on the drug trade.

    I’m from Chicago. It was a safer city when prohibition went away.

  • Jeremy

    I say legalise drugs, but regulate and tax them heavily.

  • Jeremy

    I say legalise drugs, but regulate and tax them heavily.

  • Bill Crum

    Is Dr. Paul saying that “victim-less crimes” must be legal in our nation? Or is he saying that is something for state or local authorities to determine what is appropriate? I have confidence in the 50 states, AKA laboratories of democracy, to work out the best, but probably not uniform, policies for the country. The one-size-fits-all legislation of morality in Washington D.C. is an expensive failure with which no one is happy.

  • Bill Crum

    Is Dr. Paul saying that “victim-less crimes” must be legal in our nation? Or is he saying that is something for state or local authorities to determine what is appropriate? I have confidence in the 50 states, AKA laboratories of democracy, to work out the best, but probably not uniform, policies for the country. The one-size-fits-all legislation of morality in Washington D.C. is an expensive failure with which no one is happy.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    The question I have regarding legalizing illicit drugs and prostitution is simple; is it, in general, a victimless crime in reality? Is it a truly voluntary transaction?

    In the case of prostitution (and movie prostitution or pornography), the rates of drug use and mental illness among participants, as well as stories told of how they got into the business, I am not persuaded that it is a voluntary transaction at all. There is a reason that where you find hookers and johns, you find pimps as well, no?

    The same thing goes for a lot of hard drugs; the first use may or may not be voluntary, but the testimony of a lot of addicts is that the second use is not really voluntary at all. Free market thinking should protect voluntary transactions, but not those of compulsion.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    The question I have regarding legalizing illicit drugs and prostitution is simple; is it, in general, a victimless crime in reality? Is it a truly voluntary transaction?

    In the case of prostitution (and movie prostitution or pornography), the rates of drug use and mental illness among participants, as well as stories told of how they got into the business, I am not persuaded that it is a voluntary transaction at all. There is a reason that where you find hookers and johns, you find pimps as well, no?

    The same thing goes for a lot of hard drugs; the first use may or may not be voluntary, but the testimony of a lot of addicts is that the second use is not really voluntary at all. Free market thinking should protect voluntary transactions, but not those of compulsion.

  • Louis

    What Kevin and Matt said. Actually, Matt’s comment “The problem with trying to reduce law or ethics to “do whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt anyone” is that it does not provide any content for “hurt.” ” is exceptional.

  • Louis

    What Kevin and Matt said. Actually, Matt’s comment “The problem with trying to reduce law or ethics to “do whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt anyone” is that it does not provide any content for “hurt.” ” is exceptional.

  • Kirk

    @7

    No, laws don’t create morality, but they are conducive to a society that moral people can exist in. This is, for example, why we have laws against murder. Murder is illegal, yet people still kill other people. The law, in my opinion, is very rarely something that discourages a would-be murderer from killing someone else. However, since murder is illegal, it gives the government recourse to remove murderers from the broader population, either by incarceration of execution, there by making society safer for non-murderers like me.

    I agree with Paul on drugs, to an extent. I think there are certain drugs that wouldn’t be terribly detrimental to society, as a whole. Mostly soft drugs because their effects aren’t all that different from alcohol, caffeine or tobacco. Hard drugs, however, are a different story. They have far ranging socioeconomic effects that extend well beyond someone just wanting to get high. They cause significant, negative behavioral changes in the immediate term. They lead to disinterest and unproductivity in the long term, which, compounded with their extreme addictiveness, causes economic deprivation to users and hurts the broader economy. Then there are health issues related to sharing and discarding needles, not to mention overdoses.

    I agree that punishing drug users is pretty pointless. The focus should be on rehabilitation. Still, that doesn’t make hard drug use a “victimless crime.” It has far ranging consequences.

  • Kirk

    @7

    No, laws don’t create morality, but they are conducive to a society that moral people can exist in. This is, for example, why we have laws against murder. Murder is illegal, yet people still kill other people. The law, in my opinion, is very rarely something that discourages a would-be murderer from killing someone else. However, since murder is illegal, it gives the government recourse to remove murderers from the broader population, either by incarceration of execution, there by making society safer for non-murderers like me.

    I agree with Paul on drugs, to an extent. I think there are certain drugs that wouldn’t be terribly detrimental to society, as a whole. Mostly soft drugs because their effects aren’t all that different from alcohol, caffeine or tobacco. Hard drugs, however, are a different story. They have far ranging socioeconomic effects that extend well beyond someone just wanting to get high. They cause significant, negative behavioral changes in the immediate term. They lead to disinterest and unproductivity in the long term, which, compounded with their extreme addictiveness, causes economic deprivation to users and hurts the broader economy. Then there are health issues related to sharing and discarding needles, not to mention overdoses.

    I agree that punishing drug users is pretty pointless. The focus should be on rehabilitation. Still, that doesn’t make hard drug use a “victimless crime.” It has far ranging consequences.

  • Joe

    Bike asked, “There is a reason that where you find hookers and johns, you find pimps as well, no?”

    yes and the reason is because prostitution is pushed down into the black market. How many abusive pimps are there in Nevada’s Bunny Ranch type brothels? The violence that is attacked to drugs and hookers is largely there because those activities have been deemed illegal. A hooker does not need the “protection” of a pimp if her trade is legal. A conner drug dealer with a 9 mm in his waist band would not exist if you could buy your pot at the local supermarket (like beer).

    None of these are arguments that these activities are good or right or not sinful. They are arguments about public policy. What is better – to create a violent underground economy and society that costs of millions to prosecute, house and “rehabilitate”? or to try something new. To legalize and eliminate the violence and the costs of housing the “criminals”. Then the focus shifts to the house of worship, the family and other non-governmental institutions to address the many reasons why these activities are immoral, sinful and not healthy.

    Also, it must be remember that Ron Paul is running for a federal office and federalism should be on everyone’s mind. Even if you think it is good public policy to make drug use and/or prostitution illegal is it the job of the federal gov’t in our system or is it the job of the state? Let the 50 laboratories of public policy take a stab at drug policy. After several decades, we know that the current federal policy is a complete failure.

  • Joe

    Bike asked, “There is a reason that where you find hookers and johns, you find pimps as well, no?”

    yes and the reason is because prostitution is pushed down into the black market. How many abusive pimps are there in Nevada’s Bunny Ranch type brothels? The violence that is attacked to drugs and hookers is largely there because those activities have been deemed illegal. A hooker does not need the “protection” of a pimp if her trade is legal. A conner drug dealer with a 9 mm in his waist band would not exist if you could buy your pot at the local supermarket (like beer).

    None of these are arguments that these activities are good or right or not sinful. They are arguments about public policy. What is better – to create a violent underground economy and society that costs of millions to prosecute, house and “rehabilitate”? or to try something new. To legalize and eliminate the violence and the costs of housing the “criminals”. Then the focus shifts to the house of worship, the family and other non-governmental institutions to address the many reasons why these activities are immoral, sinful and not healthy.

    Also, it must be remember that Ron Paul is running for a federal office and federalism should be on everyone’s mind. Even if you think it is good public policy to make drug use and/or prostitution illegal is it the job of the federal gov’t in our system or is it the job of the state? Let the 50 laboratories of public policy take a stab at drug policy. After several decades, we know that the current federal policy is a complete failure.

  • Pete

    Eric Brown’s (@7) comments are good ones. Neither side of this argument is so naive as to believe that their policies would eliminate drug use or prostitution. The real issue is, which approach is better for society. The illustration of prohibition in Chicago is useful in the sense that it was a time when the experiment was actually done. It did not eliminate alcohol and the average citizen was generally less safe. The same would seem to be true with regard to drugs today. The million-dollar question is whether things would be any better if we legalized drugs and prostitution.
    I wonder if anyone has any data from places that have legalized drugs, prostitution or both. Is crime less in those places? How about drug use and prostitution – does legalizing them increase or decrease their prevalence?
    I do recall once hearing a lecturer opine that the prevalence of drug addiction is remarkably constant across societies, independent of the society’s position on the legality of drug use. If this is in fact true, it would seem to favor legalization, though I imagine it’s hard to prove the truth of the assertion.

  • Pete

    Eric Brown’s (@7) comments are good ones. Neither side of this argument is so naive as to believe that their policies would eliminate drug use or prostitution. The real issue is, which approach is better for society. The illustration of prohibition in Chicago is useful in the sense that it was a time when the experiment was actually done. It did not eliminate alcohol and the average citizen was generally less safe. The same would seem to be true with regard to drugs today. The million-dollar question is whether things would be any better if we legalized drugs and prostitution.
    I wonder if anyone has any data from places that have legalized drugs, prostitution or both. Is crime less in those places? How about drug use and prostitution – does legalizing them increase or decrease their prevalence?
    I do recall once hearing a lecturer opine that the prevalence of drug addiction is remarkably constant across societies, independent of the society’s position on the legality of drug use. If this is in fact true, it would seem to favor legalization, though I imagine it’s hard to prove the truth of the assertion.

  • Cincinnatus

    Gerson’s essay is trolltastic. I had this discussion yesterday, and it is not a serious engagement with Ron Paul’s words. He neither “mocked” addicts nor indicated whether he would support government funds for rehabilitation programs. Nor, in Gerson’s telling, did Paul claim that drug use is a victimless crime per se.

    In any case, St. Augustine strenuously advocated the legalization of prostitution. Not only will prostitution always happen anyway–much like the abuse of narcotics–but quietly permitting its indulgence can forestall many other more destructive vices. Example: legalizing certain narcotics, for instance, would ensure that thousands of people worldwide aren’t murdered every year in their manufacture and distribution, as well in as the pointless cat-and-mouse law enforcement game known as the War on Drugs. No is murdered making whiskey these days, dangerous as the substance itself is.

  • Cincinnatus

    Gerson’s essay is trolltastic. I had this discussion yesterday, and it is not a serious engagement with Ron Paul’s words. He neither “mocked” addicts nor indicated whether he would support government funds for rehabilitation programs. Nor, in Gerson’s telling, did Paul claim that drug use is a victimless crime per se.

    In any case, St. Augustine strenuously advocated the legalization of prostitution. Not only will prostitution always happen anyway–much like the abuse of narcotics–but quietly permitting its indulgence can forestall many other more destructive vices. Example: legalizing certain narcotics, for instance, would ensure that thousands of people worldwide aren’t murdered every year in their manufacture and distribution, as well in as the pointless cat-and-mouse law enforcement game known as the War on Drugs. No is murdered making whiskey these days, dangerous as the substance itself is.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    I really want to bury my face in my hands and sigh very deeply. First, Ron Paul should know there is no such thing as an illegal drug. There is illegal use of a drug. Every single “illegal” drug is a legal substance, its use is regulated and limited to specific times and places due to safety and addictive nature. Doctors can still and do prescribe cocaine because it is an effective topical analgesic. Also please note official criminal charges generally read – possession of a controlled substance without a prescription. He was a doctor he should know better.

    Two, he is I suspect is exposing his hypocrisy by propagating the above, because if the reporting is accurate by his reasoning Paul would have to advocate complete deregulation of alcohol and I seriously doubt he would support lifting DUI laws.

    Three, though morality cannot be created by law, law should by its very nature should reflect morality. The law should stand in judgment of the misuse of medical drugs, it should stand in judgment of the sex trade. On these points, Ron Paul is in error even if he is remaining faithful to the Libertarian ideal of personal responsibility. I like Ron Paul, I would probably still vote for him, but I would granted think real hard before doing so.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    I really want to bury my face in my hands and sigh very deeply. First, Ron Paul should know there is no such thing as an illegal drug. There is illegal use of a drug. Every single “illegal” drug is a legal substance, its use is regulated and limited to specific times and places due to safety and addictive nature. Doctors can still and do prescribe cocaine because it is an effective topical analgesic. Also please note official criminal charges generally read – possession of a controlled substance without a prescription. He was a doctor he should know better.

    Two, he is I suspect is exposing his hypocrisy by propagating the above, because if the reporting is accurate by his reasoning Paul would have to advocate complete deregulation of alcohol and I seriously doubt he would support lifting DUI laws.

    Three, though morality cannot be created by law, law should by its very nature should reflect morality. The law should stand in judgment of the misuse of medical drugs, it should stand in judgment of the sex trade. On these points, Ron Paul is in error even if he is remaining faithful to the Libertarian ideal of personal responsibility. I like Ron Paul, I would probably still vote for him, but I would granted think real hard before doing so.

  • Cincinnatus

    Dr. Luther,

    Your first paragraph is a merely semantic argument and is about as useful.

    Your second paragraph misunderstands libertarianism. Assuming Paul is a libertarian–and I often am uncertain whether he values libertarianism or the idea of states’ rights federalism more–he would be strongly in favor of strict DUI regulations. The use of alcohol itself is unproblematic, but endangering the rights and safety of others by driving while intoxicated is a classic case of an acceptable site for government intervention according to most libertarians.

    Your third paragraph is difficult. Sure, ok, the law should reflect the moral principles maintained by the society which undergirds and precedes the state. But you’ve just consigned yourself to a host of laws with little more than merely nominal value. It’s one thing to outlaw murder. It’s quite another to write a law forbidding prostitution, knowing that the state absolutely cannot end or even limit its practice, and that any serious attempt to enforce such a law would be largely a waste of time and public money. Augustine believed prostitution to be immoral, but he supported its legalization anyway for purely practical reasons. The state quickly loses legitimacy if it maintains on the books a host of laws rooted in ideal and not fact–and it will lose that legitimacy even faster if it expends serious efforts to enforce these idealistic laws, as the United States is currently doing with its controlled substances laws.

  • Cincinnatus

    Dr. Luther,

    Your first paragraph is a merely semantic argument and is about as useful.

    Your second paragraph misunderstands libertarianism. Assuming Paul is a libertarian–and I often am uncertain whether he values libertarianism or the idea of states’ rights federalism more–he would be strongly in favor of strict DUI regulations. The use of alcohol itself is unproblematic, but endangering the rights and safety of others by driving while intoxicated is a classic case of an acceptable site for government intervention according to most libertarians.

    Your third paragraph is difficult. Sure, ok, the law should reflect the moral principles maintained by the society which undergirds and precedes the state. But you’ve just consigned yourself to a host of laws with little more than merely nominal value. It’s one thing to outlaw murder. It’s quite another to write a law forbidding prostitution, knowing that the state absolutely cannot end or even limit its practice, and that any serious attempt to enforce such a law would be largely a waste of time and public money. Augustine believed prostitution to be immoral, but he supported its legalization anyway for purely practical reasons. The state quickly loses legitimacy if it maintains on the books a host of laws rooted in ideal and not fact–and it will lose that legitimacy even faster if it expends serious efforts to enforce these idealistic laws, as the United States is currently doing with its controlled substances laws.

  • SKPeterson

    There are several different issues involved here, but mostly this involves property and the responsible use of that property. Property fundamentally includes the body, as well as the physical assets that one accrues. The law then becomes involved in minimizing and ameliorating violations of property that might exist between persons – either through the mechanisms of the civil law or criminal. For crimes like murder, theft, fraud, etc. the perpetrators are inflicting violence and harm upon the property of others. For drug addiction or prostitution, the defining element is the willingness of both parties to enter into the criminalized transaction. We cannot ascertain motive or intent for both parties, but we do have indications that the transactions are undertaken voluntarily. Now, the presence of pimps is an interesting market phenomena – the pimp often acts as an “agent” for the prostitutes (wow, shades of professional sports) driving customers to the prostitute in exchange for a cut or the proceeds. Should, however, a pimp engage in the sue of force to compel a woman to become a prostitute this then does become a criminal act that libertarians would hold to be illegal. For example, there was a recent bust of a prostitution ring in Tennessee and Kentucky that catered to Hispanic men, by luring Mexican women to the U.S> with promises of legitimate jobs, but then forcing them into prostitution once they arrived in the States. Immoral, sinful, and no libertarian would support the legality of such an enterprise. To the extent that prostitution exists under circumstances of force such as kidnapping, then it would be illegal.

    As to drug use, the primary argument is that the spillover effects do not make drugs victimless as libertarians hold. I agree that spillover effects do exist, but that they are outside the remedy of the law, at least outside criminal law, unless or until such actions result in damage to other persons or their property. This is similar to right-to-carry laws; where carrying a weapon is legal, it is the responsibility of that person to not harm the persons or property of others. Yet, he can shoot himself in the foot all he wants, as long as he is willing to pay the costs. He can shoot out his windows or put holes in the walls of his house, but it is his property, and his family that has to live under such conditions. His actions are not victimless, but neither are they criminal, unless or until he shoots out his neighbor’s windows or shoots his neighbor in the foot.

    Other actions that are legal produce victims, and such actions happen every day. These actions are legal, but sinful, even immoral. Abortion is one, which this libertarian believes should be illegal by the way, but also actions such as adultery (with or without the aforementioned prostitutes), divorce, or family squabbling and wrangling over inheritances and the division of property.

  • SKPeterson

    There are several different issues involved here, but mostly this involves property and the responsible use of that property. Property fundamentally includes the body, as well as the physical assets that one accrues. The law then becomes involved in minimizing and ameliorating violations of property that might exist between persons – either through the mechanisms of the civil law or criminal. For crimes like murder, theft, fraud, etc. the perpetrators are inflicting violence and harm upon the property of others. For drug addiction or prostitution, the defining element is the willingness of both parties to enter into the criminalized transaction. We cannot ascertain motive or intent for both parties, but we do have indications that the transactions are undertaken voluntarily. Now, the presence of pimps is an interesting market phenomena – the pimp often acts as an “agent” for the prostitutes (wow, shades of professional sports) driving customers to the prostitute in exchange for a cut or the proceeds. Should, however, a pimp engage in the sue of force to compel a woman to become a prostitute this then does become a criminal act that libertarians would hold to be illegal. For example, there was a recent bust of a prostitution ring in Tennessee and Kentucky that catered to Hispanic men, by luring Mexican women to the U.S> with promises of legitimate jobs, but then forcing them into prostitution once they arrived in the States. Immoral, sinful, and no libertarian would support the legality of such an enterprise. To the extent that prostitution exists under circumstances of force such as kidnapping, then it would be illegal.

    As to drug use, the primary argument is that the spillover effects do not make drugs victimless as libertarians hold. I agree that spillover effects do exist, but that they are outside the remedy of the law, at least outside criminal law, unless or until such actions result in damage to other persons or their property. This is similar to right-to-carry laws; where carrying a weapon is legal, it is the responsibility of that person to not harm the persons or property of others. Yet, he can shoot himself in the foot all he wants, as long as he is willing to pay the costs. He can shoot out his windows or put holes in the walls of his house, but it is his property, and his family that has to live under such conditions. His actions are not victimless, but neither are they criminal, unless or until he shoots out his neighbor’s windows or shoots his neighbor in the foot.

    Other actions that are legal produce victims, and such actions happen every day. These actions are legal, but sinful, even immoral. Abortion is one, which this libertarian believes should be illegal by the way, but also actions such as adultery (with or without the aforementioned prostitutes), divorce, or family squabbling and wrangling over inheritances and the division of property.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @13

    Are you really that naive? Seriously, the law creates a criminal underground? Remove drug laws and the gun toting dealer is going to disappear? You do realize that most folks prostitute themselves in order to buy their drugs? De-regulating their use isn’t going to change their destructive nature nor make them cheaper. Drug related crime will still exist, unless you make it theft legal.

    Eliminating the laws is not going to eliminate the criminal or criminal activity. It is only going to change the nature of the crime.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @13

    Are you really that naive? Seriously, the law creates a criminal underground? Remove drug laws and the gun toting dealer is going to disappear? You do realize that most folks prostitute themselves in order to buy their drugs? De-regulating their use isn’t going to change their destructive nature nor make them cheaper. Drug related crime will still exist, unless you make it theft legal.

    Eliminating the laws is not going to eliminate the criminal or criminal activity. It is only going to change the nature of the crime.

  • Cincinnatus

    Dr. Luther: You’re fantasizing. We have a perfectly applicable and exhaustively documented empirical case–almost a natural experiment–providing evidence of what happens when a popular (but addictive and dangerous) substance is criminalized and later re-legitimized. It was called, of course Prohibition, as several commenters have noted.

    Prohibition quite literally created a criminal underground market that was extraordinarily violent and corrupt. Ending Prohibition destroyed this market almost overnight. If Al Capone were alive today, he would not be trafficking in alcohol but in cocaine. That’s how it works. Today, I can walk into the local liquor store without fear of violence myself, without concern that my purchase–in broad daylight–is underwriting untold illegal activities and violence. And if someone does abuse alcohol, I know that there are more reasonable laws that punish those who create a public harm in its abuse.

    The vast global market in illegal narcotics and other substances exists solely because the United States and Western Europe have punitively prohibited their use and sale while still maintaining a huge demand for these substances.

  • Cincinnatus

    Dr. Luther: You’re fantasizing. We have a perfectly applicable and exhaustively documented empirical case–almost a natural experiment–providing evidence of what happens when a popular (but addictive and dangerous) substance is criminalized and later re-legitimized. It was called, of course Prohibition, as several commenters have noted.

    Prohibition quite literally created a criminal underground market that was extraordinarily violent and corrupt. Ending Prohibition destroyed this market almost overnight. If Al Capone were alive today, he would not be trafficking in alcohol but in cocaine. That’s how it works. Today, I can walk into the local liquor store without fear of violence myself, without concern that my purchase–in broad daylight–is underwriting untold illegal activities and violence. And if someone does abuse alcohol, I know that there are more reasonable laws that punish those who create a public harm in its abuse.

    The vast global market in illegal narcotics and other substances exists solely because the United States and Western Europe have punitively prohibited their use and sale while still maintaining a huge demand for these substances.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @17

    Semantics are necessary because accurate information is necessary. When the semantics are wrong the information conveyed is not and cannot be understood. Semantics are always useful. Unless of course, they interfere with your pet theories.

    “Your third paragraph is difficult. Sure, ok, the law should reflect the moral principles maintained by the society which undergirds and precedes the state. But you’ve just consigned yourself to a host of laws with little more than merely nominal value. It’s one thing to outlaw murder. It’s quite another to write a law forbidding prostitution, knowing that the state absolutely cannot end or even limit its practice, and that any serious attempt to enforce such a law would be largely a waste of time and public money. Augustine believed prostitution to be immoral, but he supported its legalization anyway for purely practical reasons. The state quickly loses legitimacy if it maintains on the books a host of laws rooted in ideal and not fact–and it will lose that legitimacy even faster if it expends serious efforts to enforce these idealistic laws, as the United States is currently doing with its controlled substances laws.”

    Don’t write a law because it isn’t going to stop people from doing it? Let’s get rid of the Ten Commandments then, we see how well they have stopped people from sinning. Have the laws against murder stopped people from murdering each other? Legitimacy is not based in whether or not the state prevents the breaking of law, it is based on whether or not the state fails to punish those who break the law. Concerning Augustine please provide the source.

    BTW, what is the Libertarian ideal? Do they actually have an ideal outside the supremacy of personal responsibility? I have seen the knockdown drag out fights in libertarian circles.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @17

    Semantics are necessary because accurate information is necessary. When the semantics are wrong the information conveyed is not and cannot be understood. Semantics are always useful. Unless of course, they interfere with your pet theories.

    “Your third paragraph is difficult. Sure, ok, the law should reflect the moral principles maintained by the society which undergirds and precedes the state. But you’ve just consigned yourself to a host of laws with little more than merely nominal value. It’s one thing to outlaw murder. It’s quite another to write a law forbidding prostitution, knowing that the state absolutely cannot end or even limit its practice, and that any serious attempt to enforce such a law would be largely a waste of time and public money. Augustine believed prostitution to be immoral, but he supported its legalization anyway for purely practical reasons. The state quickly loses legitimacy if it maintains on the books a host of laws rooted in ideal and not fact–and it will lose that legitimacy even faster if it expends serious efforts to enforce these idealistic laws, as the United States is currently doing with its controlled substances laws.”

    Don’t write a law because it isn’t going to stop people from doing it? Let’s get rid of the Ten Commandments then, we see how well they have stopped people from sinning. Have the laws against murder stopped people from murdering each other? Legitimacy is not based in whether or not the state prevents the breaking of law, it is based on whether or not the state fails to punish those who break the law. Concerning Augustine please provide the source.

    BTW, what is the Libertarian ideal? Do they actually have an ideal outside the supremacy of personal responsibility? I have seen the knockdown drag out fights in libertarian circles.

  • Cincinnatus

    Nice confusion of law and Gospel, the two kingdoms, etc., Luther! The Ten Commandments are totally applicable to a discussion about civil and criminal statutes.

    But we’ll deal with your point as it is. The state is currently doing everything it can to punish anyone who abuses, sells, or manufactures controlled substances illegally. How’s that working out?

    What you really need to address, however, is the question of Prohibition.

  • Cincinnatus

    Nice confusion of law and Gospel, the two kingdoms, etc., Luther! The Ten Commandments are totally applicable to a discussion about civil and criminal statutes.

    But we’ll deal with your point as it is. The state is currently doing everything it can to punish anyone who abuses, sells, or manufactures controlled substances illegally. How’s that working out?

    What you really need to address, however, is the question of Prohibition.

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Two questions.

    In over 20 years in Congress, what has Ron Paul accomplished?

    Do you think he would win ANY electoral votes this time? (he won zero, last time)

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Two questions.

    In over 20 years in Congress, what has Ron Paul accomplished?

    Do you think he would win ANY electoral votes this time? (he won zero, last time)

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @22 How did I confuse Law and Gospel? Did I ever claim one can be saved by works? How did I confuse the two kingdoms? Is not the moral law the very thing the sword upholds? Did I place the church in charge of upholding the sword? Did I place the government in charge of Grace? Can you not recognize an argumentum ad absurdum?

    Seriously, Cincinnaticus, your argument boils down to Homer’s maxim, “Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try.” It is stupid to suggest that because something is hard we should not do it.

    Prohibition did not create the criminal element. The criminal element already existed. What it did was bring it out into the open because people were not happy with prohibition laws. The people and media who were not happy with a law brought the organized criminal element into the light of day because they were “fighting” an unpopular law. The only thing Prohibition changed was the fact we could no longer ignore what was already there.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @22 How did I confuse Law and Gospel? Did I ever claim one can be saved by works? How did I confuse the two kingdoms? Is not the moral law the very thing the sword upholds? Did I place the church in charge of upholding the sword? Did I place the government in charge of Grace? Can you not recognize an argumentum ad absurdum?

    Seriously, Cincinnaticus, your argument boils down to Homer’s maxim, “Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try.” It is stupid to suggest that because something is hard we should not do it.

    Prohibition did not create the criminal element. The criminal element already existed. What it did was bring it out into the open because people were not happy with prohibition laws. The people and media who were not happy with a law brought the organized criminal element into the light of day because they were “fighting” an unpopular law. The only thing Prohibition changed was the fact we could no longer ignore what was already there.

  • Joe

    Steve @ 23 – you question presumes that a congressman who accomplishes “things” (I am assuming you mean laws) is necessarily good. In a system such as ours, we should be glad to have a person who stands up every once in a while and challenges the presumptions of the status quo.

    DrlL21 @ 19. I am perfectly serious and the history of prohibition demonstrates my point. How many beer dealers are killing each other over disputed territory these days?

  • Joe

    Steve @ 23 – you question presumes that a congressman who accomplishes “things” (I am assuming you mean laws) is necessarily good. In a system such as ours, we should be glad to have a person who stands up every once in a while and challenges the presumptions of the status quo.

    DrlL21 @ 19. I am perfectly serious and the history of prohibition demonstrates my point. How many beer dealers are killing each other over disputed territory these days?

  • Porcell

    One can live with some of Paul’s views on social issues; the real problem with him is his ideological view of nonintervention in world affairs. He doesn’t get it that history as a rule rewards those who wish to disentangle from world affairs with some form of disastrous entanglement. The best example of this was Europe in the twenties and most of the thirties attempting to stay disentangled from Hitler and company, only to end up with the most disastrous war in world history.

    Fortunately, so far, when it comes to Republican primaries most voters want nothing to do with him, notwithstanding his few fervent acolytes.

  • Porcell

    One can live with some of Paul’s views on social issues; the real problem with him is his ideological view of nonintervention in world affairs. He doesn’t get it that history as a rule rewards those who wish to disentangle from world affairs with some form of disastrous entanglement. The best example of this was Europe in the twenties and most of the thirties attempting to stay disentangled from Hitler and company, only to end up with the most disastrous war in world history.

    Fortunately, so far, when it comes to Republican primaries most voters want nothing to do with him, notwithstanding his few fervent acolytes.

  • Random Lutheran

    #19: the law certainly can and does do that; law of all stripes has that effect. See, for instance, Romans 5 & 7 (& this cartoon). This does not mean that law is not good, or that law is not necessary. What it does mean is that when we use the law we cannot but expect for sin to come squishing out in other, often unforeseen directions, from under its weight. Law does not and can not make a sinner good.

  • Random Lutheran

    #19: the law certainly can and does do that; law of all stripes has that effect. See, for instance, Romans 5 & 7 (& this cartoon). This does not mean that law is not good, or that law is not necessary. What it does mean is that when we use the law we cannot but expect for sin to come squishing out in other, often unforeseen directions, from under its weight. Law does not and can not make a sinner good.

  • mendicus

    SKPeterson: The position that the body is property is gnostic, and therefore flawed. The human person is a unity, with the tangible and the intangible being but one person. With that in view, it would seem that the libertarian principle of non-aggression must either allow aggression against all aspects of the person (since nothing about the person is his property), or must disallow aggression against all aspects of the person — body, mind and soul. There is no intrinsic reason to permit mental or spiritual harm, but not physical harm. There might be, and I believe that in most cases there are, good extrinsic reasons to treat bodily harm differently than we treat mental or spiritual harm, but that is a different matter.

    Kevin N: Great insight, but one that is deeply troubling for liberty. Are we, sinful as we are, even capable of self-government? I think that self-government is, broadly speaking, better than coercive government, but the same sinfulness that turns legitimate governmental authority into despotism also turns legitimate self-government into libertinism. The fact that libertarianism doesn’t advocate libertinism does not sever the connection between the two. In the end our constant fight for liberty must be tempered by an awareness of the human incapacity for true liberty in this life.

  • mendicus

    SKPeterson: The position that the body is property is gnostic, and therefore flawed. The human person is a unity, with the tangible and the intangible being but one person. With that in view, it would seem that the libertarian principle of non-aggression must either allow aggression against all aspects of the person (since nothing about the person is his property), or must disallow aggression against all aspects of the person — body, mind and soul. There is no intrinsic reason to permit mental or spiritual harm, but not physical harm. There might be, and I believe that in most cases there are, good extrinsic reasons to treat bodily harm differently than we treat mental or spiritual harm, but that is a different matter.

    Kevin N: Great insight, but one that is deeply troubling for liberty. Are we, sinful as we are, even capable of self-government? I think that self-government is, broadly speaking, better than coercive government, but the same sinfulness that turns legitimate governmental authority into despotism also turns legitimate self-government into libertinism. The fact that libertarianism doesn’t advocate libertinism does not sever the connection between the two. In the end our constant fight for liberty must be tempered by an awareness of the human incapacity for true liberty in this life.

  • DonS

    I think everything I am about to say has been said above, but I’ll chime in anyway :-). I am not a big Ron Paul fan, for a number of reasons, but I do consider myself to have a strong libertarian streak. I am also a strict constitutionalist. In no way should either prostitution or drug use be federal issues. Each state and/or local community should make the decisions that are deemed politically best for them regarding their criminal laws. No doubt this would mean that there would be some communities in which prostitution and/or drug use would be legal, and some where they would not be. People could then choose to live in the community that was more comfortable for them, or alternatively work through the political process to attempt to change the laws in their community.

    Cincinnatus has already stated it well, but the focus of libertarianism is to protect individual rights and liberties. This means imposing laws that ensure that those liberties are not encroached upon by other individuals. Strong laws addressing such things as driving under the influence of a mind-altering substance fall squarely within the focus of a libertarian philosophy, as also do noise ordinances and other ordinary criminal laws. Societal order is vital to having the freedom to enjoy your individual constitutional rights. Libertarians are not anarchists, though they are often painted as such by detractors.

  • DonS

    I think everything I am about to say has been said above, but I’ll chime in anyway :-). I am not a big Ron Paul fan, for a number of reasons, but I do consider myself to have a strong libertarian streak. I am also a strict constitutionalist. In no way should either prostitution or drug use be federal issues. Each state and/or local community should make the decisions that are deemed politically best for them regarding their criminal laws. No doubt this would mean that there would be some communities in which prostitution and/or drug use would be legal, and some where they would not be. People could then choose to live in the community that was more comfortable for them, or alternatively work through the political process to attempt to change the laws in their community.

    Cincinnatus has already stated it well, but the focus of libertarianism is to protect individual rights and liberties. This means imposing laws that ensure that those liberties are not encroached upon by other individuals. Strong laws addressing such things as driving under the influence of a mind-altering substance fall squarely within the focus of a libertarian philosophy, as also do noise ordinances and other ordinary criminal laws. Societal order is vital to having the freedom to enjoy your individual constitutional rights. Libertarians are not anarchists, though they are often painted as such by detractors.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Man, how do you get a bunch of “conservativeS” to embrace the nanny state? Whisper “illegal drugs” into their ear. Or anything those, you know, bad people do, like prostitution. But keep yer durn laws offa my own sins, ya dang gub’mint!

    Anyhow, general props to SK and Cincinnatus on this thread.

    Of course, I’m not a libertarian per se, and I haven’t given as much thought to legalizing prostitution as to the drug issue, but I do think that, at a bare minimum, we need to legalize the most popular, least harmful drugs. And probably focus way more on those distributing, not using, whatever drugs are illegal.

    I am sympathetic to the idea that some drugs are simply too harmful to be legal, no matter the political theory — sort of in the same way that some weapons are simply too harmful in the hands of civilians to be protected by the Second Amendment. I have no experience with illegal drugs myself, but I once knew a girl at Reed College, a rather drug-friendly campus in Portland, and she once showed me what I believe was their student-written orientation week guide, including a section on the effects (both positive and negative) to most illegal drugs. But even that manual stressed that heroin was just a bad idea.

    Of course, it’s very difficult to deal in shades of gray — someone will always complain that the rules are arbitrary, much as they already do (“why are tobacco and alcohol legal, but marijuana isn’t?”). Would moving that line to exclude only drugs like crack and heroin fundamentally change the argument we’re already having, or would it just change the names of drugs we mention?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Man, how do you get a bunch of “conservativeS” to embrace the nanny state? Whisper “illegal drugs” into their ear. Or anything those, you know, bad people do, like prostitution. But keep yer durn laws offa my own sins, ya dang gub’mint!

    Anyhow, general props to SK and Cincinnatus on this thread.

    Of course, I’m not a libertarian per se, and I haven’t given as much thought to legalizing prostitution as to the drug issue, but I do think that, at a bare minimum, we need to legalize the most popular, least harmful drugs. And probably focus way more on those distributing, not using, whatever drugs are illegal.

    I am sympathetic to the idea that some drugs are simply too harmful to be legal, no matter the political theory — sort of in the same way that some weapons are simply too harmful in the hands of civilians to be protected by the Second Amendment. I have no experience with illegal drugs myself, but I once knew a girl at Reed College, a rather drug-friendly campus in Portland, and she once showed me what I believe was their student-written orientation week guide, including a section on the effects (both positive and negative) to most illegal drugs. But even that manual stressed that heroin was just a bad idea.

    Of course, it’s very difficult to deal in shades of gray — someone will always complain that the rules are arbitrary, much as they already do (“why are tobacco and alcohol legal, but marijuana isn’t?”). Would moving that line to exclude only drugs like crack and heroin fundamentally change the argument we’re already having, or would it just change the names of drugs we mention?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DLi2C, when you say (@16) that “law should by its very nature should reflect morality”, do you mean the whole of morality? Because I don’t know anyone who agrees with that — in fact, I seriously doubt that you do. I mean, the Isrealite theocracy set up by God allowed divorce. Are you criticizing God for that, as well, since God himself declared divorce to be immoral?

    But if you mean that all laws should reflect morality, but that laws shouldn’t necessarily reflect all morality, then the question becomes: what subset of morality should we enforce? And, for that matter, whose morality?

    And though someone has already replied to your saying (@19):

    Seriously, the law creates a criminal underground? Remove drug laws and the gun toting dealer is going to disappear

    …it bears repeating that I don’t have to buy my alcohol in a back alley (I don’t even think that’s possible, nor would I want to), nor does the alcohol dealer carry a gun. Prohibition is a pretty strong reference point here.

    But wait, there’s more (@21):

    Don’t write a law because it isn’t going to stop people from doing it? Let’s get rid of the Ten Commandments then, we see how well they have stopped people from sinning.

    Wait, what? Are you conflating civil laws with God’s Law? Because we don’t have civil laws enforcing anything like a good number of the commandments: I can worship whatever, make idols of whatever, use God’s name in vain, work on the Sabbath, dishonor my parents, lust in my heart, hate my brother, put the worst construction on my neighbor’s words, and covet like there’s no tomorrow, all without incurring any fines or jail time.

    Also, again, God himself allowed divorce because the people’s hearts were hard, not because divorce was God-pleasing.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DLi2C, when you say (@16) that “law should by its very nature should reflect morality”, do you mean the whole of morality? Because I don’t know anyone who agrees with that — in fact, I seriously doubt that you do. I mean, the Isrealite theocracy set up by God allowed divorce. Are you criticizing God for that, as well, since God himself declared divorce to be immoral?

    But if you mean that all laws should reflect morality, but that laws shouldn’t necessarily reflect all morality, then the question becomes: what subset of morality should we enforce? And, for that matter, whose morality?

    And though someone has already replied to your saying (@19):

    Seriously, the law creates a criminal underground? Remove drug laws and the gun toting dealer is going to disappear

    …it bears repeating that I don’t have to buy my alcohol in a back alley (I don’t even think that’s possible, nor would I want to), nor does the alcohol dealer carry a gun. Prohibition is a pretty strong reference point here.

    But wait, there’s more (@21):

    Don’t write a law because it isn’t going to stop people from doing it? Let’s get rid of the Ten Commandments then, we see how well they have stopped people from sinning.

    Wait, what? Are you conflating civil laws with God’s Law? Because we don’t have civil laws enforcing anything like a good number of the commandments: I can worship whatever, make idols of whatever, use God’s name in vain, work on the Sabbath, dishonor my parents, lust in my heart, hate my brother, put the worst construction on my neighbor’s words, and covet like there’s no tomorrow, all without incurring any fines or jail time.

    Also, again, God himself allowed divorce because the people’s hearts were hard, not because divorce was God-pleasing.

  • SKPeterson

    Porcell – Are you saying that the best way to address interventionism is to rely upon interventionism? The reason Europe was trying to disentangle itself from German in the 30′s was the direct result of U.S. interventionism under Wilson, who redrew state boundaries, and mucked up the aftermath of WWI.

    Ask yourself this: Why did Germany intervene in (invade) Belgium? Because the Belgians did not offer a credible military threat and instead relied upon the promises of intervention from Britain and France, unlike those ever-so-isolationist Swiss and Swedes.

    Maybe Finland should have invaded (intervened) the Soviet Union in 1935 to teach Stalin a lesson. I suppose Japan was just capturing some of those historical rewards when it intervened in Nanking. I’m sure Sierra Leone is very appreciative of Liberian intervention in its civil war, and I’m fairly certain that Ethiopia is generating scads of long-term historical rewards from intervening in Somalia.

  • SKPeterson

    Porcell – Are you saying that the best way to address interventionism is to rely upon interventionism? The reason Europe was trying to disentangle itself from German in the 30′s was the direct result of U.S. interventionism under Wilson, who redrew state boundaries, and mucked up the aftermath of WWI.

    Ask yourself this: Why did Germany intervene in (invade) Belgium? Because the Belgians did not offer a credible military threat and instead relied upon the promises of intervention from Britain and France, unlike those ever-so-isolationist Swiss and Swedes.

    Maybe Finland should have invaded (intervened) the Soviet Union in 1935 to teach Stalin a lesson. I suppose Japan was just capturing some of those historical rewards when it intervened in Nanking. I’m sure Sierra Leone is very appreciative of Liberian intervention in its civil war, and I’m fairly certain that Ethiopia is generating scads of long-term historical rewards from intervening in Somalia.

  • SKPeterson

    Mendicus @28 – please explain how the notion of the physical body being property is a form of gnosticism. Even if I am a unity of body and soul, is not this unity distinct to me, and is not my body my own (with all due props to God, of course, but here in a strictly material, time-bound mortal sense)? The problem with mental and spiritual harm and the law is that such things are often subjective, and don’t have an objective, physical reality that can be measured. Pain does not have a measure attached to it; if I say I felt three units of pain, what does that mean? If I say someone has stolen $3,000 of my dollars, that has meaning. That is why I am very suspicious of awarding tort monies for “mental anguish” or “suffering,” attaching specific dollar amounts to these non-specific states of being sounds more like gnosticism to me.

  • SKPeterson

    Mendicus @28 – please explain how the notion of the physical body being property is a form of gnosticism. Even if I am a unity of body and soul, is not this unity distinct to me, and is not my body my own (with all due props to God, of course, but here in a strictly material, time-bound mortal sense)? The problem with mental and spiritual harm and the law is that such things are often subjective, and don’t have an objective, physical reality that can be measured. Pain does not have a measure attached to it; if I say I felt three units of pain, what does that mean? If I say someone has stolen $3,000 of my dollars, that has meaning. That is why I am very suspicious of awarding tort monies for “mental anguish” or “suffering,” attaching specific dollar amounts to these non-specific states of being sounds more like gnosticism to me.

  • Porcell

    SK Peterson, intervention in world affairs has to be proportionate to a nation’s effective power. Countries like Belgium, Finland, and Ethiopia didn’t have the effective power for intervention. France, England, and the U.S. after WW I had the effective power to intervene against Germany but mainly due to suffering during WW I, they couldn’t gin up the will. Wilson’s role in drawing international boundaries had little do with this. Only large powers in fact have the ability to intervene effectively in matters of world stability.

    Ron Paul’s non-intervention policy would cripple the effective role of the U.S. in maintaining reasonable stability in the world, which is very much necessary to our vital economic and political interests. Most Americans well know this; that’s mainly why Ron Paul does consistently poorly in Republican primaries.

  • Porcell

    SK Peterson, intervention in world affairs has to be proportionate to a nation’s effective power. Countries like Belgium, Finland, and Ethiopia didn’t have the effective power for intervention. France, England, and the U.S. after WW I had the effective power to intervene against Germany but mainly due to suffering during WW I, they couldn’t gin up the will. Wilson’s role in drawing international boundaries had little do with this. Only large powers in fact have the ability to intervene effectively in matters of world stability.

    Ron Paul’s non-intervention policy would cripple the effective role of the U.S. in maintaining reasonable stability in the world, which is very much necessary to our vital economic and political interests. Most Americans well know this; that’s mainly why Ron Paul does consistently poorly in Republican primaries.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sk petersen and cincinatus. what they say. I especially appreciate what sk petersen says about reducing it all to property rights. this is exactly how the Lutheran Confessions slice and dice civil morality.

    Now that said,

    I think we should make the drug and prostitution laws stronger. why…. the slippery slope argument. If we legalize drugs and prostitution the necessary logic would lead us to legalize a host of other immoral things just as Dr Luther points out. we would decriminalize adultery for starters, then we would legalize divorce, then we would legalize serial polygamy by allowing divorcees to remarry multiple times, then , as if rationalizing the legalization of those things were not bad enough, we would then do something that would destroy marriages. and what would that be….

    we would allow a couple of homos to get a marriage license and call that a marriage. That would threaten the disolution of heterosexual marriage as a institution at a fundamental level in a way that divorce and legalized adultery could NEVER do.

    So Dr Luther is right. what Paul proposes would do something our society has never done before which would be not decouple morality from legality.

    Bravo Dr Luther for pointing out what should be obvious to all here.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    sk petersen and cincinatus. what they say. I especially appreciate what sk petersen says about reducing it all to property rights. this is exactly how the Lutheran Confessions slice and dice civil morality.

    Now that said,

    I think we should make the drug and prostitution laws stronger. why…. the slippery slope argument. If we legalize drugs and prostitution the necessary logic would lead us to legalize a host of other immoral things just as Dr Luther points out. we would decriminalize adultery for starters, then we would legalize divorce, then we would legalize serial polygamy by allowing divorcees to remarry multiple times, then , as if rationalizing the legalization of those things were not bad enough, we would then do something that would destroy marriages. and what would that be….

    we would allow a couple of homos to get a marriage license and call that a marriage. That would threaten the disolution of heterosexual marriage as a institution at a fundamental level in a way that divorce and legalized adultery could NEVER do.

    So Dr Luther is right. what Paul proposes would do something our society has never done before which would be not decouple morality from legality.

    Bravo Dr Luther for pointing out what should be obvious to all here.

  • SKPeterson

    Yes, but the example of Germany and Japan during WWII shows precisely how interventionism can and does have deleterious consequences. While those examples are the extreme, there are also the extraordinarily eerie parallels between our intervention in Afghanistan and preceding interventions by the Soviet Union and Great Britain. Just remembered that during the time that Britain was fighting the Second and Third Anglo-Afghan wars to a successful inconclusion, they were also engaged in more interventionist success in South Africa with the Second Boer war. While the British won, they created the long-term backlash that created the apartheid state of the future Republic. The British were also generous enough to provide the rest of the world pointers on building and maintaining concentration camps to target civilians and sow terror amongst the populace. Check out pictures of Boer concentration camp inmates and pictures of German concentration camps 45 years later. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:LizzieVanZyl.jpg
    Great stuff, thanks Winnie.

    You may be entirely correct that “[o]nly large powers in fact have the ability to intervene effectively in matters of world stability,” but the underlying assumption you are holding is that intervention by the U.S. always is effective or necessary, and that there are no negative consequences to engaging in such intervention. Yours is a tacit, consequence-less “might makes right” stance. I suppose the libertarian counter would be that “right makes right.”

  • SKPeterson

    Yes, but the example of Germany and Japan during WWII shows precisely how interventionism can and does have deleterious consequences. While those examples are the extreme, there are also the extraordinarily eerie parallels between our intervention in Afghanistan and preceding interventions by the Soviet Union and Great Britain. Just remembered that during the time that Britain was fighting the Second and Third Anglo-Afghan wars to a successful inconclusion, they were also engaged in more interventionist success in South Africa with the Second Boer war. While the British won, they created the long-term backlash that created the apartheid state of the future Republic. The British were also generous enough to provide the rest of the world pointers on building and maintaining concentration camps to target civilians and sow terror amongst the populace. Check out pictures of Boer concentration camp inmates and pictures of German concentration camps 45 years later. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:LizzieVanZyl.jpg
    Great stuff, thanks Winnie.

    You may be entirely correct that “[o]nly large powers in fact have the ability to intervene effectively in matters of world stability,” but the underlying assumption you are holding is that intervention by the U.S. always is effective or necessary, and that there are no negative consequences to engaging in such intervention. Yours is a tacit, consequence-less “might makes right” stance. I suppose the libertarian counter would be that “right makes right.”

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @ 31
    “Wait, what? Are you conflating civil laws with God’s Law? …”
    tODD, I am actually quite disappointed in you. You of all people, who regularly comment here, I expected to be able to recognize an argument in the absurd. I am not conflating the two, merely attempting to illustrate the absurdity of determining legality by what is actually going to prevent an action from occurring.

    “…it bears repeating that I don’t have to buy my alcohol in a back alley (I don’t even think that’s possible, nor would I want to), nor does the alcohol dealer carry a gun. Prohibition is a pretty strong reference point here.”
    Umm… actually a fair number of places that sell alcohol have weapons on the premise. You can buy alcohol “in the back alley” though no longer as prevalent there are still those who prefer to buy and sell on the side and thus avoid various liquor taxes.

    But going back to my original post and the importance of semantics is half this argument is because people are arguing as if the substances in question are illegal. They are not illegal, their use, just like alcohol is regulated. The law is written so that there is a graded level of regulation. The law is not a blanket ban like Prohibition. This is a case of people who are unwilling to abide by the regulated use of any substance. The only drug that I would grant should be reconsidered for a schedule change is THC. The whole argument that alcohol is legal and so should X because it is no worse is actually a bad argument because it is not based on fact. Alcohol though not on the FDA schedule its use is regulated just as every single one of the scheduled drugs are regulated.

    Here is a link to the drug schedule the lower the schedule number the higher the level of tracking and regulation on use. http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/schedules/orangebook/c_cs_alpha.pdf

    And tODD, it is not up to us to determine what is moral and what is not, that is for God who is creator of all things to determine. What he says goes. So I am not going to waste my time on your red-herring concerning divorce.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @ 31
    “Wait, what? Are you conflating civil laws with God’s Law? …”
    tODD, I am actually quite disappointed in you. You of all people, who regularly comment here, I expected to be able to recognize an argument in the absurd. I am not conflating the two, merely attempting to illustrate the absurdity of determining legality by what is actually going to prevent an action from occurring.

    “…it bears repeating that I don’t have to buy my alcohol in a back alley (I don’t even think that’s possible, nor would I want to), nor does the alcohol dealer carry a gun. Prohibition is a pretty strong reference point here.”
    Umm… actually a fair number of places that sell alcohol have weapons on the premise. You can buy alcohol “in the back alley” though no longer as prevalent there are still those who prefer to buy and sell on the side and thus avoid various liquor taxes.

    But going back to my original post and the importance of semantics is half this argument is because people are arguing as if the substances in question are illegal. They are not illegal, their use, just like alcohol is regulated. The law is written so that there is a graded level of regulation. The law is not a blanket ban like Prohibition. This is a case of people who are unwilling to abide by the regulated use of any substance. The only drug that I would grant should be reconsidered for a schedule change is THC. The whole argument that alcohol is legal and so should X because it is no worse is actually a bad argument because it is not based on fact. Alcohol though not on the FDA schedule its use is regulated just as every single one of the scheduled drugs are regulated.

    Here is a link to the drug schedule the lower the schedule number the higher the level of tracking and regulation on use. http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/schedules/orangebook/c_cs_alpha.pdf

    And tODD, it is not up to us to determine what is moral and what is not, that is for God who is creator of all things to determine. What he says goes. So I am not going to waste my time on your red-herring concerning divorce.

  • Cincinnatus

    Dr. Luther, maintaining the canard that an enormous and violent criminal element trafficking in alcohol preceded and survived Prohibition is just self-evidently absurd. Accordingly, so too is your claim that such elements would remain in the trafficking of narcotics. That just seems like a terrible way in which to defend drug prohibition–because everyone knows that it’s just factually incorrect. Alcohol production and sales are, in the United States, a peaceful industry like any other. That’s not necessarily what I envision for cocaine, for instance, but the historical evidence clearly demonstrates that ending Prohibition ended the organized crime, the violence, the immense governmental expenditures, etc., that surrounded its enforcement. Try another tactic, please.

    Meanwhile, you seem to have made quite a logical leap here. It’s one thing to claim that prostitution is immoral–I think we all agree on that point–but is, say, using cocaine facially immoral? In my opinion, not any more immoral than imbibing in Scotch, my preferred beverage.

    Moreover, if something is definitively deemed “immoral,” does that mean the government is obligated to prohibit that act and enforce said prohibition? Does the government lose its legitimacy if it refuses or neglects to prosecute immoral actions? Though many have maintained such an argument throughout political history, I doubt you’ll get much mileage from it because it’s easily refuted. I doubt you would claim, after all, that the government should prohibit and punish lying (unless there are legal obligations involved), taking God’s name in vain, or participating in Buddhism, just to name a few niggling examples. Or would you?

    In short, I don’t think the appeal to morality is a sufficient justification for state action, particularly in a liberal state such as ours. Combine the appeal to morality with rationally defensible claims about public harm, etc., and then you’ll be getting somewhere.

  • Cincinnatus

    Dr. Luther, maintaining the canard that an enormous and violent criminal element trafficking in alcohol preceded and survived Prohibition is just self-evidently absurd. Accordingly, so too is your claim that such elements would remain in the trafficking of narcotics. That just seems like a terrible way in which to defend drug prohibition–because everyone knows that it’s just factually incorrect. Alcohol production and sales are, in the United States, a peaceful industry like any other. That’s not necessarily what I envision for cocaine, for instance, but the historical evidence clearly demonstrates that ending Prohibition ended the organized crime, the violence, the immense governmental expenditures, etc., that surrounded its enforcement. Try another tactic, please.

    Meanwhile, you seem to have made quite a logical leap here. It’s one thing to claim that prostitution is immoral–I think we all agree on that point–but is, say, using cocaine facially immoral? In my opinion, not any more immoral than imbibing in Scotch, my preferred beverage.

    Moreover, if something is definitively deemed “immoral,” does that mean the government is obligated to prohibit that act and enforce said prohibition? Does the government lose its legitimacy if it refuses or neglects to prosecute immoral actions? Though many have maintained such an argument throughout political history, I doubt you’ll get much mileage from it because it’s easily refuted. I doubt you would claim, after all, that the government should prohibit and punish lying (unless there are legal obligations involved), taking God’s name in vain, or participating in Buddhism, just to name a few niggling examples. Or would you?

    In short, I don’t think the appeal to morality is a sufficient justification for state action, particularly in a liberal state such as ours. Combine the appeal to morality with rationally defensible claims about public harm, etc., and then you’ll be getting somewhere.

  • mendicus

    SKPeterson@33 — it’s gnostic because it severs body from self. Your body does belong to you, of course, but it doesn’t merely belong to you. It is you. There is, therefore, no intrinsic distinction between mental and physical harm. The rest of your post bears out what I had said @28 — there are extrinsic or practical reasons to distinguish among kinds of harm, but there is nothing intrinsic to bodily harm that makes it protectable while mental harm is not. Harm against your body is wrong because it’s harm against you, not because it’s harm against your property. Equally, harm against your mind is wrong because it’s harm against you. Generally we regulate only the one because we have no means (currently, anyway) of measuring harm to the other. That’s an extrinsic, or practical, difference. There are other such differences, as well, such as those having to do with tradeoffs.

    Take this example: if a male student punches an obese girl once, he will be punished for it. If, on the other hand, he quietly torments the girl with cruel remarks, and does so for years causing severe mental anguish, that will go unpunished. Is this because some abstract principle of non-aggression is only violated in the first case? Clearly not, for the person has been harmed in both cases. The difference has mainly to do with evidence and measurability. Can she prove that he made the remarks? Can she prove he intended thereby to harm her? Can she prove the harm she suffered? In most cases, no. There also might be matters of tradeoff, such as that we might prefer to expect the girl to grow mentally tough, rather than to regulate speech. But again, this has nothing to do with aggression or harm against the person.

    Another example: if I give pornography to someone, I incite lust in him, and might even contribute to an “addiction” to porn, if such it can be called. Have I harmed the person? Yes, morally (and perhaps in other ways). The eyes of his body and the chemicals in his brain and the lust in his soul are all connected, all one. Should this be regulated against? No. Why not? For numerous reasons, other than that I’ve not harmed the person, for I have harmed him.

    I would add that, as a practical matter, our differences on the nanny state are probably slight. The main difference is over libertarianism as a viable “ism”. The non-aggression principle is rather arbitrary, and as precious as freedom from government coercion is, Scripture does not teach that it is inherently good. It can be instrumentally very good, permitting, for instance, the open proclamation of the Gospel. Thus it is to be sought for its benefits, not for its own sake.

  • mendicus

    SKPeterson@33 — it’s gnostic because it severs body from self. Your body does belong to you, of course, but it doesn’t merely belong to you. It is you. There is, therefore, no intrinsic distinction between mental and physical harm. The rest of your post bears out what I had said @28 — there are extrinsic or practical reasons to distinguish among kinds of harm, but there is nothing intrinsic to bodily harm that makes it protectable while mental harm is not. Harm against your body is wrong because it’s harm against you, not because it’s harm against your property. Equally, harm against your mind is wrong because it’s harm against you. Generally we regulate only the one because we have no means (currently, anyway) of measuring harm to the other. That’s an extrinsic, or practical, difference. There are other such differences, as well, such as those having to do with tradeoffs.

    Take this example: if a male student punches an obese girl once, he will be punished for it. If, on the other hand, he quietly torments the girl with cruel remarks, and does so for years causing severe mental anguish, that will go unpunished. Is this because some abstract principle of non-aggression is only violated in the first case? Clearly not, for the person has been harmed in both cases. The difference has mainly to do with evidence and measurability. Can she prove that he made the remarks? Can she prove he intended thereby to harm her? Can she prove the harm she suffered? In most cases, no. There also might be matters of tradeoff, such as that we might prefer to expect the girl to grow mentally tough, rather than to regulate speech. But again, this has nothing to do with aggression or harm against the person.

    Another example: if I give pornography to someone, I incite lust in him, and might even contribute to an “addiction” to porn, if such it can be called. Have I harmed the person? Yes, morally (and perhaps in other ways). The eyes of his body and the chemicals in his brain and the lust in his soul are all connected, all one. Should this be regulated against? No. Why not? For numerous reasons, other than that I’ve not harmed the person, for I have harmed him.

    I would add that, as a practical matter, our differences on the nanny state are probably slight. The main difference is over libertarianism as a viable “ism”. The non-aggression principle is rather arbitrary, and as precious as freedom from government coercion is, Scripture does not teach that it is inherently good. It can be instrumentally very good, permitting, for instance, the open proclamation of the Gospel. Thus it is to be sought for its benefits, not for its own sake.

  • Louis

    IOW, Todd @ 30, we should be pragmatic about it – as much freedom as could “work”. I agree.

    SKP – thanks for recognising part of my history.

    As to the interventionsim debate: Once started, you cnnot just stop – Wilson created Hitler in a manner of speaking, and therefore the US had an obligation to deal with that threat. Of course, dealing with that threat led to the Cold War. Thus Wilsonian intervention led to 70 years of intevention. But as Porcell would likely say, there is no way that the US could be interventionist during WW II. Thus you are both right.

    Similarly, US interventionsim in Iran (Mossadegh) led to a lot of issues today. But I would also argue that US support for Israel, while fuelling pan-Arab nationanalism (in conjunction with the efforts of Lawrence of Arabia etc etc) was much less of a factor than US intervention in the Kuwait War (1st Gulf War), in creating Islamist terrorism. I say this because, if I remember correctly, the chief objection from the harline Islamists were “infidel presence in the Holy Land”, referring to Saudi Arabia. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Eventually though, because of ideological decisions in the past, we are forced into pragmatism (Realpolitik), which, though less than ideal, is the most realistic. This also goes for drugwars etc…

  • Louis

    IOW, Todd @ 30, we should be pragmatic about it – as much freedom as could “work”. I agree.

    SKP – thanks for recognising part of my history.

    As to the interventionsim debate: Once started, you cnnot just stop – Wilson created Hitler in a manner of speaking, and therefore the US had an obligation to deal with that threat. Of course, dealing with that threat led to the Cold War. Thus Wilsonian intervention led to 70 years of intevention. But as Porcell would likely say, there is no way that the US could be interventionist during WW II. Thus you are both right.

    Similarly, US interventionsim in Iran (Mossadegh) led to a lot of issues today. But I would also argue that US support for Israel, while fuelling pan-Arab nationanalism (in conjunction with the efforts of Lawrence of Arabia etc etc) was much less of a factor than US intervention in the Kuwait War (1st Gulf War), in creating Islamist terrorism. I say this because, if I remember correctly, the chief objection from the harline Islamists were “infidel presence in the Holy Land”, referring to Saudi Arabia. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Eventually though, because of ideological decisions in the past, we are forced into pragmatism (Realpolitik), which, though less than ideal, is the most realistic. This also goes for drugwars etc…

  • Louis

    Sorry for the typo’s @ 40: cnnot = cannot, nationanalism=nationalism, harline=hardline etc.

  • Louis

    Sorry for the typo’s @ 40: cnnot = cannot, nationanalism=nationalism, harline=hardline etc.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @38 Would you please actually learn the law, before trying to argue about legalities.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @38 Would you please actually learn the law, before trying to argue about legalities.

  • http://www.uppercervicaldocs.com DrHambrick

    These comments obviously demonstrate the belief that if the government doesn’t take care of the weak and infirm and addicted, then no one will.

  • http://www.uppercervicaldocs.com DrHambrick

    These comments obviously demonstrate the belief that if the government doesn’t take care of the weak and infirm and addicted, then no one will.

  • Cincinnatus

    Luther@43: Are you snarkily counseling yourself to learn the law before arguing about legalities?

  • Cincinnatus

    Luther@43: Are you snarkily counseling yourself to learn the law before arguing about legalities?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Sorry, everyone (except for Snafu!), I just approved Snafu’s comment, which was caught in the spam queue, and is now comment #1. Which means that all the foregoing comment-reference numbers should be decremented before being looked up.

    I mean, much as I find the idea of DLi2C (@43) chastising DLi2C (@38) humorous, I don’t think he was.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Sorry, everyone (except for Snafu!), I just approved Snafu’s comment, which was caught in the spam queue, and is now comment #1. Which means that all the foregoing comment-reference numbers should be decremented before being looked up.

    I mean, much as I find the idea of DLi2C (@43) chastising DLi2C (@38) humorous, I don’t think he was.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    LOL, I chastise myself a lot, but no I wasn’t chastising myself over learning the law. :D

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    LOL, I chastise myself a lot, but no I wasn’t chastising myself over learning the law. :D

  • Cincinnatus

    Because clearly, Dr. Luther, you know so much about it. While we’re at it, tell me more about how dangerous it is to purchase alcoholic beverages in dark alleys. I always enjoy adding to my collection of ghost stories–i.e., stories about phantastical events with little connection to empirically experienced events.

    Then I’m going to go buy some beer. With my credit card. At the local grocery store. With lots of other upstanding citizens. Beer that was brewed locally in broad daylight, with the imprimatur of the state, carefully regulated but perfectly legal. According to Michael Gerson, this means I am mocking alcoholics, of course, but as a libertarian (not really), I can merely claim they are only harming themselves.

  • Cincinnatus

    Because clearly, Dr. Luther, you know so much about it. While we’re at it, tell me more about how dangerous it is to purchase alcoholic beverages in dark alleys. I always enjoy adding to my collection of ghost stories–i.e., stories about phantastical events with little connection to empirically experienced events.

    Then I’m going to go buy some beer. With my credit card. At the local grocery store. With lots of other upstanding citizens. Beer that was brewed locally in broad daylight, with the imprimatur of the state, carefully regulated but perfectly legal. According to Michael Gerson, this means I am mocking alcoholics, of course, but as a libertarian (not really), I can merely claim they are only harming themselves.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @48 I have practical experience from both the medical side and the legal side of drug regulation. I have actually bothered to read the laws. I am not even sure you have ever read the laws. If you did you would know that you can with your credit card, you could even claim it on your medical insurance, in broad daylight get carefully regulated and legal cocaine that was made by a law abiding peaceable company. The only difference is one needs a prescription and the other doesn’t.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    @48 I have practical experience from both the medical side and the legal side of drug regulation. I have actually bothered to read the laws. I am not even sure you have ever read the laws. If you did you would know that you can with your credit card, you could even claim it on your medical insurance, in broad daylight get carefully regulated and legal cocaine that was made by a law abiding peaceable company. The only difference is one needs a prescription and the other doesn’t.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    A few quick notes on the conversation so far:

    The idea of the body being property is not only Gnostic (as medicus points out), but highly problematic from a legal perspective. If you punch me in the face, you don’t merely punch some flesh and bone that I own and am very attached to–you punch me. If the law fundamentally deals only with property, it must ultimately treat the people it governs as property rather than people.

    The oft noted inability to completely eliminate a vice through law is completely irrelevant to the discussion. No law can completely eliminate the behavior it targets, and it doesn’t need to.

    We’re being hypocrites if we speak of the law preventing the harm of those it governs, but then measure harm only by means of consent. That leaves the immature, the naive, the weak, the inarticulate, and the gullible completely without legal protection. The fact that we cannot provide people with absolute protection against themselves does not mean we can or should provide no protection.

    If Ron Paul accomplished nothing in 20 years in congress, that puts him head and shoulders above most of the rest who have insufficient accomplishments to outweigh the damage they’ve done.

    The fact that the law cannot reflect the whole of morality may raise the entirely answerable question of which subset to enforce, but it by no means raises the question of “whose” unless one is foolishly embracing moral relativism.

    Finally, I think it’s worth citing some words from Dr. Luther in the 16th Century that really nail it:

    “A prince must punish the wicked in such a way that he does not step on the dish while pikcing up the spoon, and for the sake of one man’s head plunge country and people into want and fill the land with widows and orphans… In short, here one must go by the proverb, ‘He cannot govern who cannot wink at faults.’ Let this be his rule: Where wrong cannot be punished without greater wrong, there let him waive his rights, however just they may be.”

    Here we find the balance between law and morality in politics (incidentally, it is one that matches Jesus’ approach to the issue of divorce). The government judges right and wrong and acts according to it, but also refrains from action when it judges that the righting of wrongs would cause even greater wrongs. We can thereby be pragmatic without pretending to be value-neutral, excluding moral judgment from government, or dithering about in relativism. You will also note that it provides a basis for dealing with drug use without committing ourselves to a disastrous war on drugs on one extreme or pretending the government has no business getting involved on the other.

  • http://www.matthewcochran.net/blog Matt Cochran

    A few quick notes on the conversation so far:

    The idea of the body being property is not only Gnostic (as medicus points out), but highly problematic from a legal perspective. If you punch me in the face, you don’t merely punch some flesh and bone that I own and am very attached to–you punch me. If the law fundamentally deals only with property, it must ultimately treat the people it governs as property rather than people.

    The oft noted inability to completely eliminate a vice through law is completely irrelevant to the discussion. No law can completely eliminate the behavior it targets, and it doesn’t need to.

    We’re being hypocrites if we speak of the law preventing the harm of those it governs, but then measure harm only by means of consent. That leaves the immature, the naive, the weak, the inarticulate, and the gullible completely without legal protection. The fact that we cannot provide people with absolute protection against themselves does not mean we can or should provide no protection.

    If Ron Paul accomplished nothing in 20 years in congress, that puts him head and shoulders above most of the rest who have insufficient accomplishments to outweigh the damage they’ve done.

    The fact that the law cannot reflect the whole of morality may raise the entirely answerable question of which subset to enforce, but it by no means raises the question of “whose” unless one is foolishly embracing moral relativism.

    Finally, I think it’s worth citing some words from Dr. Luther in the 16th Century that really nail it:

    “A prince must punish the wicked in such a way that he does not step on the dish while pikcing up the spoon, and for the sake of one man’s head plunge country and people into want and fill the land with widows and orphans… In short, here one must go by the proverb, ‘He cannot govern who cannot wink at faults.’ Let this be his rule: Where wrong cannot be punished without greater wrong, there let him waive his rights, however just they may be.”

    Here we find the balance between law and morality in politics (incidentally, it is one that matches Jesus’ approach to the issue of divorce). The government judges right and wrong and acts according to it, but also refrains from action when it judges that the righting of wrongs would cause even greater wrongs. We can thereby be pragmatic without pretending to be value-neutral, excluding moral judgment from government, or dithering about in relativism. You will also note that it provides a basis for dealing with drug use without committing ourselves to a disastrous war on drugs on one extreme or pretending the government has no business getting involved on the other.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    P.S. I will add from a practical standpoint very few pharmacies actually stock it, pharmacists don’t like extra the paper work.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    P.S. I will add from a practical standpoint very few pharmacies actually stock it, pharmacists don’t like extra the paper work.

  • Porcell

    SK Peterson, at thirty-seven, of course in a fallen world even intervention for good purposes can sometimes have poor secondary effects. In the case of WW II, however, the main, rather salutary effect was to prevent totalitarian Germany from dominating the West and Japan from dominating the East. Same for our intervention in the Cold War that prevented the dominance of Communism.

    I’m far from arguing that intervention is always effective or necessary. These matters require difficult judgment; sometimes mistakes are made. However, America with its great power has an obligation to use it wisely for stability in the world. Also, unlike Britain, we are not interested in acquiring land, except for a few acres here and there to bury our dead warriors in Europe.

    Ron Paul is a very dangerous isolationist ideologue.

  • Porcell

    SK Peterson, at thirty-seven, of course in a fallen world even intervention for good purposes can sometimes have poor secondary effects. In the case of WW II, however, the main, rather salutary effect was to prevent totalitarian Germany from dominating the West and Japan from dominating the East. Same for our intervention in the Cold War that prevented the dominance of Communism.

    I’m far from arguing that intervention is always effective or necessary. These matters require difficult judgment; sometimes mistakes are made. However, America with its great power has an obligation to use it wisely for stability in the world. Also, unlike Britain, we are not interested in acquiring land, except for a few acres here and there to bury our dead warriors in Europe.

    Ron Paul is a very dangerous isolationist ideologue.

  • Porcell

    Matt Cochran, thank you for that informative and wise post at fifty.

  • Porcell

    Matt Cochran, thank you for that informative and wise post at fifty.

  • Louis

    I’ll second Porcell and commend Matt Cochran.

  • Louis

    I’ll second Porcell and commend Matt Cochran.

  • http://www.infobarrel.com/Users/Snafu Snafu

    “Sorry, everyone (except for Snafu!), I just approved Snafu’s comment, which was caught in the spam queue, and is now comment #1. ”

    Did I write something spammy again? No link? – check. Forbidden words? – don’t remember them, so it could be that.

    Anyway, I think I grasped quite well the forecoming discussion! These are exactly the questions I’m thinking about.

  • http://www.infobarrel.com/Users/Snafu Snafu

    “Sorry, everyone (except for Snafu!), I just approved Snafu’s comment, which was caught in the spam queue, and is now comment #1. ”

    Did I write something spammy again? No link? – check. Forbidden words? – don’t remember them, so it could be that.

    Anyway, I think I grasped quite well the forecoming discussion! These are exactly the questions I’m thinking about.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DLi2C said (@38), “Umm… actually a fair number of places that sell alcohol have weapons on the premise.” Am I meant to take that seriously? Yes, some have weapons on the premise — not because trading in alcohol is inherently dangerous or criminal, but presumably because of the type of people in those establishments or that part of town.
    Remember, you were mocking the idea that “the law creates a criminal underground”, or that “removing drug laws [would cause] the gun toting dealer … to disappear”. I don’t see how you could ignore the obvious counterpoint to your arguments that was Prohibition. The world of alcohol manufacture, distribution, sales, and consumption — with which I am familiar on at least several levels — no longer takes place in a “criminal underground”, nor have I ever seen a gun brandished or even hinted at in the context of purchasing or enjoying alcoholic beverages. Again, are you being serious?

    As to your semantics argument, I’m with Cincinnatus. I don’t know what larger point you think you’re making:

    They are not illegal, their use, just like alcohol is regulated. The law is written so that there is a graded level of regulation. The law is not a blanket ban like Prohibition.

    The 18th Amendment didn’t ban the consumption of alcohol. But whatever. Yes, alcohol is regulated (in a way), and yes, so is cocaine (in entirely other, vastly different ways), but your semantic argument — whatever its point — seems incapable of distinguishing between how the two are regulated, and the subsequent way in which average people interact with them (or don’t).

    And tODD, it is not up to us to determine what is moral and what is not, that is for God who is creator of all things to determine. What he says goes. So I am not going to waste my time on your red-herring concerning divorce.

    I have no idea why you think my comment about divorce is a “red herring”. Honestly. Seems pretty interesting (and relevant!) to me that God himself wrote a civil law for his people that did not reflect the morality he also wrote on our hearts — contra your assertion that he should have done that. You say “What he says goes,” but what he said was that men’s hearts were hard, so he allowed them to divorce. Do you really think that’s irrelevant in a discussion of how our civil laws should (or shouldn’t) mirror God-given morality?

    Should we outlaw my working on Saturday? Should my coveting incur a fine, or even jail time?

    And what has God told us regarding the morality of consuming drugs? Is marijuana use always immoral? How about LSD? Alcohol? Caffeine? Theobromine? Ecstasy? Shrooms?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    DLi2C said (@38), “Umm… actually a fair number of places that sell alcohol have weapons on the premise.” Am I meant to take that seriously? Yes, some have weapons on the premise — not because trading in alcohol is inherently dangerous or criminal, but presumably because of the type of people in those establishments or that part of town.
    Remember, you were mocking the idea that “the law creates a criminal underground”, or that “removing drug laws [would cause] the gun toting dealer … to disappear”. I don’t see how you could ignore the obvious counterpoint to your arguments that was Prohibition. The world of alcohol manufacture, distribution, sales, and consumption — with which I am familiar on at least several levels — no longer takes place in a “criminal underground”, nor have I ever seen a gun brandished or even hinted at in the context of purchasing or enjoying alcoholic beverages. Again, are you being serious?

    As to your semantics argument, I’m with Cincinnatus. I don’t know what larger point you think you’re making:

    They are not illegal, their use, just like alcohol is regulated. The law is written so that there is a graded level of regulation. The law is not a blanket ban like Prohibition.

    The 18th Amendment didn’t ban the consumption of alcohol. But whatever. Yes, alcohol is regulated (in a way), and yes, so is cocaine (in entirely other, vastly different ways), but your semantic argument — whatever its point — seems incapable of distinguishing between how the two are regulated, and the subsequent way in which average people interact with them (or don’t).

    And tODD, it is not up to us to determine what is moral and what is not, that is for God who is creator of all things to determine. What he says goes. So I am not going to waste my time on your red-herring concerning divorce.

    I have no idea why you think my comment about divorce is a “red herring”. Honestly. Seems pretty interesting (and relevant!) to me that God himself wrote a civil law for his people that did not reflect the morality he also wrote on our hearts — contra your assertion that he should have done that. You say “What he says goes,” but what he said was that men’s hearts were hard, so he allowed them to divorce. Do you really think that’s irrelevant in a discussion of how our civil laws should (or shouldn’t) mirror God-given morality?

    Should we outlaw my working on Saturday? Should my coveting incur a fine, or even jail time?

    And what has God told us regarding the morality of consuming drugs? Is marijuana use always immoral? How about LSD? Alcohol? Caffeine? Theobromine? Ecstasy? Shrooms?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Example: legalizing certain narcotics, for instance, would ensure that thousands of people worldwide aren’t murdered every year in their manufacture and distribution, as well in as the pointless cat-and-mouse law enforcement game known as the War on Drugs.”

    Ugh, sacrificing our kids to drug addiction and vice is a small price to pay to save the drug pushers from violence and death.

    The world truly is upside down.

    As for Biblical references, uh, I seem to remember that stoning was the penalty for adultery. That is right, prostitutes got the death penalty. Gee, why would an all knowing God prescribe such a thing. Hey, maybe he knows better than we what constitutes an egregious affront to society.

    Once vice is legalized it is officially condoned and promoted. Have we learned nothing from the legalization of abortion?

    Good does not come from evil.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Example: legalizing certain narcotics, for instance, would ensure that thousands of people worldwide aren’t murdered every year in their manufacture and distribution, as well in as the pointless cat-and-mouse law enforcement game known as the War on Drugs.”

    Ugh, sacrificing our kids to drug addiction and vice is a small price to pay to save the drug pushers from violence and death.

    The world truly is upside down.

    As for Biblical references, uh, I seem to remember that stoning was the penalty for adultery. That is right, prostitutes got the death penalty. Gee, why would an all knowing God prescribe such a thing. Hey, maybe he knows better than we what constitutes an egregious affront to society.

    Once vice is legalized it is officially condoned and promoted. Have we learned nothing from the legalization of abortion?

    Good does not come from evil.

  • Cincinnatus

    Allow me to rephrase your last question, sg:

    “Have we learned nothing from the legalization of alcoholic beverages?”

    I would say we’ve learned quite a lot. Note in addition that you’re making a category mistake. Abortion–i.e., murder for the purposes of this discussion–is not a “vice.” It is a high crime. “Vices,” for the purposes of criminal definition and regulation, are an entirely different category of behaviors. In legalizing abortion, we didn’t legalize a vice, we legalized…murder, a malum in se.

    And finally, why are you constructing a false dichotomy? Who said the choice is either protecting drug dealers or “our children”? I think the argument here is that it would be better for everyone if certain substances were legalized/regulated differently than they are now. No one is pursuing drug legalization to protect the low-lifes who deal the stuff; nor, on the other hand, have you sufficiently demonstrated that legalization would encourage mass addiction, in our youth or otherwise.

    You’re usually more logically sound than this, sg.

  • Cincinnatus

    Allow me to rephrase your last question, sg:

    “Have we learned nothing from the legalization of alcoholic beverages?”

    I would say we’ve learned quite a lot. Note in addition that you’re making a category mistake. Abortion–i.e., murder for the purposes of this discussion–is not a “vice.” It is a high crime. “Vices,” for the purposes of criminal definition and regulation, are an entirely different category of behaviors. In legalizing abortion, we didn’t legalize a vice, we legalized…murder, a malum in se.

    And finally, why are you constructing a false dichotomy? Who said the choice is either protecting drug dealers or “our children”? I think the argument here is that it would be better for everyone if certain substances were legalized/regulated differently than they are now. No one is pursuing drug legalization to protect the low-lifes who deal the stuff; nor, on the other hand, have you sufficiently demonstrated that legalization would encourage mass addiction, in our youth or otherwise.

    You’re usually more logically sound than this, sg.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “nor, on the other hand, have you sufficiently demonstrated that legalization would encourage mass addiction, in our youth or otherwise.”

    ugh, and you haven’t demonstrated that it would not. And how would we make it illegal if widespread and debilitating usage did occur? It is not like we have a critical mass of civic minded folks willing to make difficult changes. It is a freakin’ Pandora’s box. It absolutely victimizes the weak among us.

    um, did abortions rise after legalization?

    The notion that normalizing evil actions has no effect on their prevalence is absurd on its face.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “nor, on the other hand, have you sufficiently demonstrated that legalization would encourage mass addiction, in our youth or otherwise.”

    ugh, and you haven’t demonstrated that it would not. And how would we make it illegal if widespread and debilitating usage did occur? It is not like we have a critical mass of civic minded folks willing to make difficult changes. It is a freakin’ Pandora’s box. It absolutely victimizes the weak among us.

    um, did abortions rise after legalization?

    The notion that normalizing evil actions has no effect on their prevalence is absurd on its face.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Regarding the idea that prostitution can be victimless; sorry, I’ve seen some of the evidence, and I’m not persuaded. For example, prostitution in Thailand (really all over SE Asia) is all but legal, and nobody but nobody believes that it’s gotten rid of the pimps. There are similar hints in Germany and Israel–that even where pimping is officially banned, it happens because the trade is lucrative.

    The same thing goes with hard drugs–say cocaine, crack, meth, heroin. I just can’t believe that this stuff is voluntary, hence it should not be protected by law.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    Regarding the idea that prostitution can be victimless; sorry, I’ve seen some of the evidence, and I’m not persuaded. For example, prostitution in Thailand (really all over SE Asia) is all but legal, and nobody but nobody believes that it’s gotten rid of the pimps. There are similar hints in Germany and Israel–that even where pimping is officially banned, it happens because the trade is lucrative.

    The same thing goes with hard drugs–say cocaine, crack, meth, heroin. I just can’t believe that this stuff is voluntary, hence it should not be protected by law.

  • Cincinnatus

    sg: But no one argued that normalizing evil actions “has no effect on their prevalence.” In fact, that claim is inapposite to all the arguments that have been made here.

    As it is, I can simply reverse the claim and apply it your (implied, at least) contention: the notion that prohibiting certain actions has any positive effect on their prevalence is absurd on its face. Consumption and possession of alcoholic beverages is highly illegal for anyone under 21 years of age, but alcoholism, binge drinking, and general abuse present a staggering problem for our teenage population. Should we make it “more” illegal? In reality, I think the law has little to do with it. The United States nurtures a vast youth binge-drinking culture (that is not similarly nurtured in France, for example, where the legal drinking age happens to be much lower). And therein lies the problem: law is not the appropriate or effective tool for attacking and limiting habitual vices (which, again, abortion is not; I feel silly even having to note that fact). The problem is a cultural problem. Precisely the same goes for heroin abuse in the ghetto or pornography abuse…everywhere.

    Meanwhile, you keep using that word “evil.” What exactly is evil here? Using cocaine? Why? It’s not in the Bible. Because it’s illegal? That’s obviously begging the question. Because it’s mind-altering and/or dangerous? So, again, is wine and a host of other substances that are not only legal but completely unregulated. So is hairspray or paint thinner for that matter.

  • Cincinnatus

    sg: But no one argued that normalizing evil actions “has no effect on their prevalence.” In fact, that claim is inapposite to all the arguments that have been made here.

    As it is, I can simply reverse the claim and apply it your (implied, at least) contention: the notion that prohibiting certain actions has any positive effect on their prevalence is absurd on its face. Consumption and possession of alcoholic beverages is highly illegal for anyone under 21 years of age, but alcoholism, binge drinking, and general abuse present a staggering problem for our teenage population. Should we make it “more” illegal? In reality, I think the law has little to do with it. The United States nurtures a vast youth binge-drinking culture (that is not similarly nurtured in France, for example, where the legal drinking age happens to be much lower). And therein lies the problem: law is not the appropriate or effective tool for attacking and limiting habitual vices (which, again, abortion is not; I feel silly even having to note that fact). The problem is a cultural problem. Precisely the same goes for heroin abuse in the ghetto or pornography abuse…everywhere.

    Meanwhile, you keep using that word “evil.” What exactly is evil here? Using cocaine? Why? It’s not in the Bible. Because it’s illegal? That’s obviously begging the question. Because it’s mind-altering and/or dangerous? So, again, is wine and a host of other substances that are not only legal but completely unregulated. So is hairspray or paint thinner for that matter.

  • Grace

    I agree with you Bike Bubba

    Why would any Christian support laws to protect prostitution? The lives it ruins, both men and women. Disease (STD’s) that often cannot be cured.

    As for drugs, they should never be lawful – the lives lost, families ruined, nothing good comes from drug use.

    Ron Paul always portects most anything – his fav vote is “NO” check out his record.

    Ron Paul on Drugs:

    Inner-city minorities are punished unfairly in war on drugs
    Q: What policy would you support to guarantee young Black and Latino men a fairer equal justice system?
    A: A system designed to protect individual liberty will have no punishments for any group and no privileges. Today, I think inner-city folks and minorities are punished unfairly in the war on drugs. For instance, Blacks make up 14% of those who use drugs, yet 36 percent of those arrested are Blacks and it ends up that 63% of those who finally end up in prison are Blacks. This has to change. We don’t have to have more courts and more prisons. We need to repeal the whole war on drugs. It isn’t working. We have already spent over $400 billion since the early 1970s, and it is wasted money. Prohibition didn’t work. Prohibition on drugs doesn’t work. So we need to come to our senses. And, absolutely, it’s a disease. We don’t treat alcoholics like this. This is a disease, and we should orient ourselves to this. That is one way you could have equal justice under the law.

    Source: 2007 GOP Presidential Forum at Morgan State University Sep 27, 2007

    *Ron Paul on Drugs*
    War on drugs is out of control; revert control to states. (Dec 2007)
    Repeal most federal drug laws; blacks are treated unfairly. (Sep 2007)
    Inner-city minorities are punished unfairly in war on drugs. (Sep 2007)
    $500B on War on Drugs since 1970s has been a total failure. (Sep 2007)
    Legalize industrial hemp. (Jan 2007)
    Drug War fosters violence at home & breeds resentment abroad. (Oct 2001)
    Societal inconsistency on alcohol contributes to drug use. (Dec 1987)
    Voted NO on more funding for Mexico to fight drugs. (Jun 2008)
    Voted NO on military border patrols to battle drugs & terrorism. (Sep 2001)
    Voted NO on subjecting federal employees to random drug tests. (Sep 1998)
    War on Drugs has abused Bill of Rights . (Dec 2000)
    Legalize medical marijuana. (Jul 2001)
    Rated A by VOTE-HEMP, indicating a pro-hemp voting record. (Dec 2003)
    Rated +30 by NORML, indicating a pro-drug-reform stance. (Dec 2006)
    Allow rehabilitated drug convicts get student loans. (Jan 2008)
    Ban federal funding for needle-exchange programs. (Mar 1999)
    Distribute sterile syringes to reduce AIDS and hepatitis. (Jan 2009)
    Sponsored bill letting states legalize industrial hemp. (Apr 2009)

  • Grace

    I agree with you Bike Bubba

    Why would any Christian support laws to protect prostitution? The lives it ruins, both men and women. Disease (STD’s) that often cannot be cured.

    As for drugs, they should never be lawful – the lives lost, families ruined, nothing good comes from drug use.

    Ron Paul always portects most anything – his fav vote is “NO” check out his record.

    Ron Paul on Drugs:

    Inner-city minorities are punished unfairly in war on drugs
    Q: What policy would you support to guarantee young Black and Latino men a fairer equal justice system?
    A: A system designed to protect individual liberty will have no punishments for any group and no privileges. Today, I think inner-city folks and minorities are punished unfairly in the war on drugs. For instance, Blacks make up 14% of those who use drugs, yet 36 percent of those arrested are Blacks and it ends up that 63% of those who finally end up in prison are Blacks. This has to change. We don’t have to have more courts and more prisons. We need to repeal the whole war on drugs. It isn’t working. We have already spent over $400 billion since the early 1970s, and it is wasted money. Prohibition didn’t work. Prohibition on drugs doesn’t work. So we need to come to our senses. And, absolutely, it’s a disease. We don’t treat alcoholics like this. This is a disease, and we should orient ourselves to this. That is one way you could have equal justice under the law.

    Source: 2007 GOP Presidential Forum at Morgan State University Sep 27, 2007

    *Ron Paul on Drugs*
    War on drugs is out of control; revert control to states. (Dec 2007)
    Repeal most federal drug laws; blacks are treated unfairly. (Sep 2007)
    Inner-city minorities are punished unfairly in war on drugs. (Sep 2007)
    $500B on War on Drugs since 1970s has been a total failure. (Sep 2007)
    Legalize industrial hemp. (Jan 2007)
    Drug War fosters violence at home & breeds resentment abroad. (Oct 2001)
    Societal inconsistency on alcohol contributes to drug use. (Dec 1987)
    Voted NO on more funding for Mexico to fight drugs. (Jun 2008)
    Voted NO on military border patrols to battle drugs & terrorism. (Sep 2001)
    Voted NO on subjecting federal employees to random drug tests. (Sep 1998)
    War on Drugs has abused Bill of Rights . (Dec 2000)
    Legalize medical marijuana. (Jul 2001)
    Rated A by VOTE-HEMP, indicating a pro-hemp voting record. (Dec 2003)
    Rated +30 by NORML, indicating a pro-drug-reform stance. (Dec 2006)
    Allow rehabilitated drug convicts get student loans. (Jan 2008)
    Ban federal funding for needle-exchange programs. (Mar 1999)
    Distribute sterile syringes to reduce AIDS and hepatitis. (Jan 2009)
    Sponsored bill letting states legalize industrial hemp. (Apr 2009)

  • Grace

    I’m sorry for all the BOLD -

  • Grace

    I’m sorry for all the BOLD -

  • Louis

    The Dutch had a decades-long experiment running on these matters (prostitution is legal there). The result? Amsterdam’s red-light district is being systematically curtailed as of 2007. Quoting from Wikipedia:

    September 2007, the city council of Amsterdam at the behest of mayor Job Cohen, concerned about trafficking and pimping in the area, forced the owner Charlie Geerts to close 51 prostitution windows, reducing the total number of windows in De Wallen by a third. Amsterdam authorities bought 18 properties from Geerts, with the aim of developing the area with fashion designers and other upscale businesses.

    Mariska Majoor of the Prostitution Information Center and representatives of the sex worker rights group De Rode Draad have decried the decision, claiming it would not reduce crime but would only lead to higher rent and more competition for the remaining windows.

    In January 2008, the city council announced plans to close the Rosso live sex theatre and the Banana bar strip club in the area. Local business owners have formed the group “Platform 1012″ (named after the zipcode of the area) to oppose the efforts of the Amsterdam government. In the end, the actions of the city government resulted in the closure of the Yab Yum brothel.

    At the end of 2008, mayor Job Cohen announced plans to close half of the city’s 400 prostitution windows because of suspected criminal gang activity; part of the city’s 70 marijuana cafes and sex clubs will also be closed. Mayor Job Cohen: “It is not that we want to get rid of our red-light district. We want to reduce it. Things have become unbalanced and if we do not act we will never regain control”.

    In 2009, the Dutch justice ministry announced plans to close 320 prostitution “windows” from Amsterdam.

    A former Amsterdam prostitute who is now a city councillor said: “There are people who are really proud of the red light district as a tourist attraction. It’s supposed to be such a wonderful, cheery place that shows just what a free city we are. But I think it’s a cesspit. There’s a lot of serious criminality. There’s a lot of exploitation of women, and a lot of social distress. That’s nothing to be proud of.”

    So sorry, Cincinnatus, it doesn’t work. Period.

  • Louis

    The Dutch had a decades-long experiment running on these matters (prostitution is legal there). The result? Amsterdam’s red-light district is being systematically curtailed as of 2007. Quoting from Wikipedia:

    September 2007, the city council of Amsterdam at the behest of mayor Job Cohen, concerned about trafficking and pimping in the area, forced the owner Charlie Geerts to close 51 prostitution windows, reducing the total number of windows in De Wallen by a third. Amsterdam authorities bought 18 properties from Geerts, with the aim of developing the area with fashion designers and other upscale businesses.

    Mariska Majoor of the Prostitution Information Center and representatives of the sex worker rights group De Rode Draad have decried the decision, claiming it would not reduce crime but would only lead to higher rent and more competition for the remaining windows.

    In January 2008, the city council announced plans to close the Rosso live sex theatre and the Banana bar strip club in the area. Local business owners have formed the group “Platform 1012″ (named after the zipcode of the area) to oppose the efforts of the Amsterdam government. In the end, the actions of the city government resulted in the closure of the Yab Yum brothel.

    At the end of 2008, mayor Job Cohen announced plans to close half of the city’s 400 prostitution windows because of suspected criminal gang activity; part of the city’s 70 marijuana cafes and sex clubs will also be closed. Mayor Job Cohen: “It is not that we want to get rid of our red-light district. We want to reduce it. Things have become unbalanced and if we do not act we will never regain control”.

    In 2009, the Dutch justice ministry announced plans to close 320 prostitution “windows” from Amsterdam.

    A former Amsterdam prostitute who is now a city councillor said: “There are people who are really proud of the red light district as a tourist attraction. It’s supposed to be such a wonderful, cheery place that shows just what a free city we are. But I think it’s a cesspit. There’s a lot of serious criminality. There’s a lot of exploitation of women, and a lot of social distress. That’s nothing to be proud of.”

    So sorry, Cincinnatus, it doesn’t work. Period.

  • Cincinnatus

    What doesn’t work? Having a government-sponsored red-light district in the middle of the finest city in the land so that anyone who wishes can open a brothel and conduct business in any way it wishes? Yeah, I never argued for that.

    Also, I’m not a libertarian. I just object to the typically facile characterizations of libertarianism, as if it were not a sophisticated political theory in its own right: “ZOMG WHAT IF SOMEONE KILLS SOMEONE WHILE ON LEGAL PCP WHAT THEN!!!???!!!ELEVENTY!” Yeah, I’m pretty sure libertarians have an answer for that.

  • Cincinnatus

    What doesn’t work? Having a government-sponsored red-light district in the middle of the finest city in the land so that anyone who wishes can open a brothel and conduct business in any way it wishes? Yeah, I never argued for that.

    Also, I’m not a libertarian. I just object to the typically facile characterizations of libertarianism, as if it were not a sophisticated political theory in its own right: “ZOMG WHAT IF SOMEONE KILLS SOMEONE WHILE ON LEGAL PCP WHAT THEN!!!???!!!ELEVENTY!” Yeah, I’m pretty sure libertarians have an answer for that.

  • Cincinnatus

    Or in this case, Louis, “ZOMG IF WE REGULATE CERTAIN VICES WE’LL BECOME AMSTERDAM!!!”

  • Cincinnatus

    Or in this case, Louis, “ZOMG IF WE REGULATE CERTAIN VICES WE’LL BECOME AMSTERDAM!!!”

  • Cincinnatus

    Also, Louis, I don’t really see how your anecdote proves anything. Aside from the fact that I could present an anecdote of my own–and my anecdote is always better than yours–all you’ve presented is quotes from a few (partisan) political actors who want to limit (not eliminate!) the Red Light district, citing a few instances in which brothels and clubs apparently violated regulations. Fine. And? Therefore we should punitively criminalize all vices or immoral acts?

  • Cincinnatus

    Also, Louis, I don’t really see how your anecdote proves anything. Aside from the fact that I could present an anecdote of my own–and my anecdote is always better than yours–all you’ve presented is quotes from a few (partisan) political actors who want to limit (not eliminate!) the Red Light district, citing a few instances in which brothels and clubs apparently violated regulations. Fine. And? Therefore we should punitively criminalize all vices or immoral acts?

  • Cincinnatus

    Meanwhile–last successive comment, I promise–Amsterdam is rated as having one of the highest qualities of living in the world. So again, I don’t really see your point. Making alcohol legal doesn’t make alcoholism any prettier, etc.

  • Cincinnatus

    Meanwhile–last successive comment, I promise–Amsterdam is rated as having one of the highest qualities of living in the world. So again, I don’t really see your point. Making alcohol legal doesn’t make alcoholism any prettier, etc.

  • Louis

    Cincinnatus, instead of mere speculative / moralistic discussion, I thought to present some concrete data namely the result of the Dutch experiment. Your respnse says a lot, namely that you are so committed to your ideology that reality can go to hell. You did not even interact with the data, a mere hand wave sufficed!

  • Louis

    Cincinnatus, instead of mere speculative / moralistic discussion, I thought to present some concrete data namely the result of the Dutch experiment. Your respnse says a lot, namely that you are so committed to your ideology that reality can go to hell. You did not even interact with the data, a mere hand wave sufficed!

  • Grace

    Cincinnatus – 68 “Meanwhile–last successive comment, I promise–Amsterdam is rated as having one of the highest qualities of living in the world. So again, I don’t really see your point. Making alcohol legal doesn’t make alcoholism any prettier, etc.”

    Prostitution is evil. Drinking wine is not evil, drinking ‘too much’ is spoken of in the Bible. Prostitution fornication/adultery is evil and sinful in any amount.

  • Grace

    Cincinnatus – 68 “Meanwhile–last successive comment, I promise–Amsterdam is rated as having one of the highest qualities of living in the world. So again, I don’t really see your point. Making alcohol legal doesn’t make alcoholism any prettier, etc.”

    Prostitution is evil. Drinking wine is not evil, drinking ‘too much’ is spoken of in the Bible. Prostitution fornication/adultery is evil and sinful in any amount.

  • Grace

    Cincinnatus – 68 ” Amsterdam is rated as having one of the highest qualities of living in the world. ”

    Worlds Top 10 – Countries with High Standard of Living:

    Norway
    Sweden
    Canada
    Australia
    United States
    Finland
    Iceland
    Belgium
    Netherlands – number 9
    Japan

    When did quality and ‘high standards’ of life mean legalizing sin? – when did that come become a ‘standard or quality?

  • Grace

    Cincinnatus – 68 ” Amsterdam is rated as having one of the highest qualities of living in the world. ”

    Worlds Top 10 – Countries with High Standard of Living:

    Norway
    Sweden
    Canada
    Australia
    United States
    Finland
    Iceland
    Belgium
    Netherlands – number 9
    Japan

    When did quality and ‘high standards’ of life mean legalizing sin? – when did that come become a ‘standard or quality?

  • Porcell

    Cincinnatus: Meanwhile–last successive comment, I promise–Amsterdam is rated as having one of the highest qualities of living in the world.

    Actually, according to the authoritative Mercer ratings, Amsterdam ranks thirteenth in the world. Among the top ten in the world, none of them have legalized prostitution or drugs. Cincinnatus is on rather shaky ground correlating Amsterdam’s formerly loose legal system with its quality of living status. The truth is that the Dutch people, like the Scandinavians, are living off past orthodox Christian capital that in its salad days would have abhorred the legalization of drugs and prostitution.

    Libertarianism is a modern “enlightenment” ideology that mistakenly credits the goodness of people, forgetting the Christian truth that men and women are fallen creatures in need of strong, measured governmental intervention including with as Paul remarked a strong sword.

    Ron Paul’s fundamentally libertarian ideas are badly mistaken on both social and international issues; Fortunately most Americans understand this and have relegated Paul to the margin of politics.

  • Porcell

    Cincinnatus: Meanwhile–last successive comment, I promise–Amsterdam is rated as having one of the highest qualities of living in the world.

    Actually, according to the authoritative Mercer ratings, Amsterdam ranks thirteenth in the world. Among the top ten in the world, none of them have legalized prostitution or drugs. Cincinnatus is on rather shaky ground correlating Amsterdam’s formerly loose legal system with its quality of living status. The truth is that the Dutch people, like the Scandinavians, are living off past orthodox Christian capital that in its salad days would have abhorred the legalization of drugs and prostitution.

    Libertarianism is a modern “enlightenment” ideology that mistakenly credits the goodness of people, forgetting the Christian truth that men and women are fallen creatures in need of strong, measured governmental intervention including with as Paul remarked a strong sword.

    Ron Paul’s fundamentally libertarian ideas are badly mistaken on both social and international issues; Fortunately most Americans understand this and have relegated Paul to the margin of politics.

  • Porcell

    Pardon me, In the above first para. it ought to have been the …top ten cities inthe world and in the third para. it ought to have been St.Paul to distinguish him from Ron Paul.

  • Porcell

    Pardon me, In the above first para. it ought to have been the …top ten cities inthe world and in the third para. it ought to have been St.Paul to distinguish him from Ron Paul.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Also, Louis, I don’t really see how your anecdote proves anything.”

    It was not an anecdote. It was a large scale experiment in a country with generally low crime and it still got out of hand. There seems to be a critical mass of civic minded folks in Amsterdam that realize they need to get a handle on it.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Also, Louis, I don’t really see how your anecdote proves anything.”

    It was not an anecdote. It was a large scale experiment in a country with generally low crime and it still got out of hand. There seems to be a critical mass of civic minded folks in Amsterdam that realize they need to get a handle on it.

  • Cincinnatus

    *sigh* I give up. I’m going to say that my words have been repeatedly misconstrued. Anyone care to back me up on that? Where to start? First of all, I wasn’t correlating legalized prostitution and quality of life, but it is a big deal that Amsterdam is rated 13th for quality of life out of thousands of cities in the world–even with legalized but regulated vice. Interestingly, these politicians aren’t arguing for prohibition; they just want to modify the regulations they have. Fine. Red light districts are not savory places in which to work and live for many decent people. Fine. Prostitution is morally blameworthy. Fine. And? You say that prostitution in se creates public harms? Maybe, but that might be difficult to demonstrate (e.g., at its most basic level, prostitution is merely an exchange of goods; I loathe speaking of sex in contractual terms, and I can see how this is morally deleterious, but does it harm people other than those actually engaging in the act?), and it has nothing to do with whether the act is immoral.

    Second, Grace and sg, lots of things are “evil.” I think we’ve established repeatedly on this blog that the “evilness” of a thing is not a sufficient argument for legally prohibiting said thing.

    Third, what data Louis? I don’t see any data beyond anecdotal “data.” Is there a link to a study you’re thinking of? I’ll be glad to read it if so. Otherwise, what you provide above is a series of quotes from Amsterdam politicians, etc., who decry the social effects of widespread prostitution, which they believe justifies alterations in local regulations that will better control that vice. What “reality” am I ignoring here? I have no problem with Amsterdam’s plan, nor would St. Augustine, nor would many American small-government libertarians (as distinct from a libertine or anarchist, though some libertarians would argue that prostitution falls under the liberty of contract–which it could, I suppose–while others would argue that one cannot contract one’s body for sale). For instance, I and most sensible small-government types do not believe anyone of any age should be able to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages at any time and in any place. Similarly, my hypothetical suggestion (it’s not an argument to which I am deeply committed) that certain currently prohibited drugs or even prostitution should be more loosely regulated does not mean that I think people should be able to use heroin/prostitutes at any time of day under any conditions. You’re constructing a straw man–which is why I entered this conversation in the first place: almost all popular critiques of American libertarianism are attacking straw men.

    Fourth, I repeat, I’m not a libertarian. I don’t wish to defend Lockeanism, prostitution, heroin abuse, etc. What I am saying is that, in the American liberal context (SMALL “L” CLASSICAL LIBERALISM”), there is a compelling case to be made for regulating rather than prohibiting habitual vices like drug use, alcohol use, and even prostitution perhaps. But mostly, the point here is to expose the deficiency of arguments for our current drug “schedules” and law enforcement regimes. It doesn’t work, and it comes at a tremendous cost of life and liberty.

    Meanwhile, I still haven’t heard a compelling and consistent argument for prohibiting “vice” as a category. But maybe treating vice categorically is mistaken in the first place?

  • Cincinnatus

    *sigh* I give up. I’m going to say that my words have been repeatedly misconstrued. Anyone care to back me up on that? Where to start? First of all, I wasn’t correlating legalized prostitution and quality of life, but it is a big deal that Amsterdam is rated 13th for quality of life out of thousands of cities in the world–even with legalized but regulated vice. Interestingly, these politicians aren’t arguing for prohibition; they just want to modify the regulations they have. Fine. Red light districts are not savory places in which to work and live for many decent people. Fine. Prostitution is morally blameworthy. Fine. And? You say that prostitution in se creates public harms? Maybe, but that might be difficult to demonstrate (e.g., at its most basic level, prostitution is merely an exchange of goods; I loathe speaking of sex in contractual terms, and I can see how this is morally deleterious, but does it harm people other than those actually engaging in the act?), and it has nothing to do with whether the act is immoral.

    Second, Grace and sg, lots of things are “evil.” I think we’ve established repeatedly on this blog that the “evilness” of a thing is not a sufficient argument for legally prohibiting said thing.

    Third, what data Louis? I don’t see any data beyond anecdotal “data.” Is there a link to a study you’re thinking of? I’ll be glad to read it if so. Otherwise, what you provide above is a series of quotes from Amsterdam politicians, etc., who decry the social effects of widespread prostitution, which they believe justifies alterations in local regulations that will better control that vice. What “reality” am I ignoring here? I have no problem with Amsterdam’s plan, nor would St. Augustine, nor would many American small-government libertarians (as distinct from a libertine or anarchist, though some libertarians would argue that prostitution falls under the liberty of contract–which it could, I suppose–while others would argue that one cannot contract one’s body for sale). For instance, I and most sensible small-government types do not believe anyone of any age should be able to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages at any time and in any place. Similarly, my hypothetical suggestion (it’s not an argument to which I am deeply committed) that certain currently prohibited drugs or even prostitution should be more loosely regulated does not mean that I think people should be able to use heroin/prostitutes at any time of day under any conditions. You’re constructing a straw man–which is why I entered this conversation in the first place: almost all popular critiques of American libertarianism are attacking straw men.

    Fourth, I repeat, I’m not a libertarian. I don’t wish to defend Lockeanism, prostitution, heroin abuse, etc. What I am saying is that, in the American liberal context (SMALL “L” CLASSICAL LIBERALISM”), there is a compelling case to be made for regulating rather than prohibiting habitual vices like drug use, alcohol use, and even prostitution perhaps. But mostly, the point here is to expose the deficiency of arguments for our current drug “schedules” and law enforcement regimes. It doesn’t work, and it comes at a tremendous cost of life and liberty.

    Meanwhile, I still haven’t heard a compelling and consistent argument for prohibiting “vice” as a category. But maybe treating vice categorically is mistaken in the first place?

  • Cincinnatus

    By the way, here are the “Christian” arguments for tolerating vice, courtesy of Aquinas and Augustine, respectively:

    Summa Theologica: Part II of book II, question 10, article 11

    “I answer that, Human government is derived from the Divine government, and should imitate it. Now although God is all-powerful and supremely good, nevertheless He allows certain evils to take place in the universe, which He might prevent, lest, without them, greater goods might be forfeited, or greater evils ensue. Accordingly in human government also, those who are in authority, rightly tolerate certain evils, lest certain goods be lost, or certain greater evils be incurred: thus Augustine says (De Ordine ii, 4): “If you do away with harlots, the world will be convulsed with lust.” Hence, though unbelievers sin in their rites, they may be tolerated, either on account of some good that ensues therefrom, or because of some evil avoided. Thus from the fact that the Jews observe their rites, which, of old, foreshadowed the truth of the faith which we hold, there follows this good–that our very enemies bear witness to our faith, and that our faith is represented in a figure, so to speak. For this reason they are tolerated in the observance of their rites.”

    Divine Providence and The Problem of Evil – St. Augustine
    “What can be mentioned more sordid, more bereft of decency, or more full of turpitude than prostitutes, procurers, and the other pests of that sort? Remove prostitutes from human affairs, and you will unsettle everything because of lusts; place them in the position of matrons, and you will dishonor these latter by disgrace and ignominy. This class of people is, therefore, by its own mode of life most unchaste in its morals; by the law of order, it is most vile in social condition.”

    Neither Saint is condoning prostitution. What they are asserting is that, in this imperfect, sin-fractured, tumultuous, vicious world, government is a game of imperfections and possibilities, maintaining tentative order, not constructing a perfect state–because it can’t. It is in the interests of the state to tolerate certain admitted evils lest certain graver evils arise instead. Moreover, it is impossible to eliminate vice from the world. And, pragmatically, any government that wishes to maintain the devotion of its citizens and the legitimacy derived thereby must not regulate too deeply.

  • Cincinnatus

    By the way, here are the “Christian” arguments for tolerating vice, courtesy of Aquinas and Augustine, respectively:

    Summa Theologica: Part II of book II, question 10, article 11

    “I answer that, Human government is derived from the Divine government, and should imitate it. Now although God is all-powerful and supremely good, nevertheless He allows certain evils to take place in the universe, which He might prevent, lest, without them, greater goods might be forfeited, or greater evils ensue. Accordingly in human government also, those who are in authority, rightly tolerate certain evils, lest certain goods be lost, or certain greater evils be incurred: thus Augustine says (De Ordine ii, 4): “If you do away with harlots, the world will be convulsed with lust.” Hence, though unbelievers sin in their rites, they may be tolerated, either on account of some good that ensues therefrom, or because of some evil avoided. Thus from the fact that the Jews observe their rites, which, of old, foreshadowed the truth of the faith which we hold, there follows this good–that our very enemies bear witness to our faith, and that our faith is represented in a figure, so to speak. For this reason they are tolerated in the observance of their rites.”

    Divine Providence and The Problem of Evil – St. Augustine
    “What can be mentioned more sordid, more bereft of decency, or more full of turpitude than prostitutes, procurers, and the other pests of that sort? Remove prostitutes from human affairs, and you will unsettle everything because of lusts; place them in the position of matrons, and you will dishonor these latter by disgrace and ignominy. This class of people is, therefore, by its own mode of life most unchaste in its morals; by the law of order, it is most vile in social condition.”

    Neither Saint is condoning prostitution. What they are asserting is that, in this imperfect, sin-fractured, tumultuous, vicious world, government is a game of imperfections and possibilities, maintaining tentative order, not constructing a perfect state–because it can’t. It is in the interests of the state to tolerate certain admitted evils lest certain graver evils arise instead. Moreover, it is impossible to eliminate vice from the world. And, pragmatically, any government that wishes to maintain the devotion of its citizens and the legitimacy derived thereby must not regulate too deeply.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    I don’t mind if prostitution is legalized. I do think it should be confined to small areas inside the American cities. Prostitution shouldn’t be tolerated near areas where children or decent women will ordinarily go.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    I don’t mind if prostitution is legalized. I do think it should be confined to small areas inside the American cities. Prostitution shouldn’t be tolerated near areas where children or decent women will ordinarily go.

  • Porcell

    Cincinnatus, no one here is arguing that vice can be eliminated from the world. While Aquinas and Augustine understood that prostitution couldn’t be eliminated, they, also, understood that civil law should at least approximate moral law, though, as most authorities quite understand, civil law needs to be enforced with care and judgment.

    While the top ten cities in the world have laws against prostitution and drug use, they know how to apply these laws with wisdom and restraint. Amsterdam itself, as sg has made clear, regards its loose laws on drugs and prostitution as rather a mistake and is in process of tightening them.

    You claim that you are misunderstood, though you have, as I remember it, stated on this blog that you support Ron Paul and the paleo-conservatives.

  • Porcell

    Cincinnatus, no one here is arguing that vice can be eliminated from the world. While Aquinas and Augustine understood that prostitution couldn’t be eliminated, they, also, understood that civil law should at least approximate moral law, though, as most authorities quite understand, civil law needs to be enforced with care and judgment.

    While the top ten cities in the world have laws against prostitution and drug use, they know how to apply these laws with wisdom and restraint. Amsterdam itself, as sg has made clear, regards its loose laws on drugs and prostitution as rather a mistake and is in process of tightening them.

    You claim that you are misunderstood, though you have, as I remember it, stated on this blog that you support Ron Paul and the paleo-conservatives.

  • Cincinnatus

    Porcell: I do have some affinity with paleo-conservatism, and some with Ron Paul (on foreign policy at least). What does that have to do with the question at hand?

    Also, while Aquinas did in fact believe that civil law should, to some extent, conform to “natural law” and moral principles, Augustine did not, in general. At this point, though, we seem to be talking past one another. I think we all here agree that there is nothing in principle wrong or problematic in carefully regulating vice. I’ll conclude that I’ve made progress, then, as SG and Grace and Louis and Dr. Luther, at least, where whaaargarbling about how the government must prohibit immoral acts and do what it within its power to stop them.

  • Cincinnatus

    Porcell: I do have some affinity with paleo-conservatism, and some with Ron Paul (on foreign policy at least). What does that have to do with the question at hand?

    Also, while Aquinas did in fact believe that civil law should, to some extent, conform to “natural law” and moral principles, Augustine did not, in general. At this point, though, we seem to be talking past one another. I think we all here agree that there is nothing in principle wrong or problematic in carefully regulating vice. I’ll conclude that I’ve made progress, then, as SG and Grace and Louis and Dr. Luther, at least, where whaaargarbling about how the government must prohibit immoral acts and do what it within its power to stop them.

  • SKPeterson

    In support of Cincinnatus and contra Porcell @72 – libertariansim as held by most small “l” libertarians are adherents to classical liberalism. If that is a pernicious product of the Enlightenment, then so be it. I’ll stake that Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, John Hancock or any ordinary American pulled off the streets of colonial Boston or Williamsburg would have a better sense of the dangers inherent in an overweening and paternalistic state than most of the “conservatives” commenting here today.

    Also, a substantial number of libertarians are rather anti-Enlightenment and find their argumentative rationale in the philosophical and theological works put forth by Augustine, Aquinas, and the late Scholastics.

    The argument boils down to the essential difference between Law and law, or a confusion not of Law and Gospel, but of the Two Kingdoms. The Kingdom of the Right condemns all sin in black and white terms, as Paul notes in Romans, quoting Psalms, “none is righteous, no not one.” The Kingdom of the Left deals with the gray that exists when sinful man lives in community with his fellows. Here the law (small “l”) serves to promote peace and harmony between men, yet that law is not always promulgated by the state, but often by institutions such as the family, the church, the neighborhood and the culture at large that proscribes behaviors, sets boundaries and limits on actions, and seeks to curb anti-social behavior by reprimand, exhortation and example. The state comes into play when social offenses cross the line into violence, or the threat of violence (i.e., to settle disputes that could turn violent if not resolved). The issue for public policy is what laws need to be enacted and enforced, what are the proper limitations of the use of the state, and what are the costs and benefits of enacting such laws by the state. This is the argument that Ron Paul and others put forward: that the state is not the proper agent to address the issues of drug use or prostitution, and that the costs of enforcement outweigh the benefits.

  • SKPeterson

    In support of Cincinnatus and contra Porcell @72 – libertariansim as held by most small “l” libertarians are adherents to classical liberalism. If that is a pernicious product of the Enlightenment, then so be it. I’ll stake that Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, John Hancock or any ordinary American pulled off the streets of colonial Boston or Williamsburg would have a better sense of the dangers inherent in an overweening and paternalistic state than most of the “conservatives” commenting here today.

    Also, a substantial number of libertarians are rather anti-Enlightenment and find their argumentative rationale in the philosophical and theological works put forth by Augustine, Aquinas, and the late Scholastics.

    The argument boils down to the essential difference between Law and law, or a confusion not of Law and Gospel, but of the Two Kingdoms. The Kingdom of the Right condemns all sin in black and white terms, as Paul notes in Romans, quoting Psalms, “none is righteous, no not one.” The Kingdom of the Left deals with the gray that exists when sinful man lives in community with his fellows. Here the law (small “l”) serves to promote peace and harmony between men, yet that law is not always promulgated by the state, but often by institutions such as the family, the church, the neighborhood and the culture at large that proscribes behaviors, sets boundaries and limits on actions, and seeks to curb anti-social behavior by reprimand, exhortation and example. The state comes into play when social offenses cross the line into violence, or the threat of violence (i.e., to settle disputes that could turn violent if not resolved). The issue for public policy is what laws need to be enacted and enforced, what are the proper limitations of the use of the state, and what are the costs and benefits of enacting such laws by the state. This is the argument that Ron Paul and others put forward: that the state is not the proper agent to address the issues of drug use or prostitution, and that the costs of enforcement outweigh the benefits.

  • Grace

    Cincinnatus – 75 – You say that prostitution in se creates public harms? Maybe, but that might be difficult to demonstrate (e.g., at its most basic level, prostitution is merely an exchange of goods;

    Sex for sale is merely an exchange of goods; It’s far more than that, it’s a lifestyle that hurts everyone it touches. How many young girls and women have turned to such a pit in distress, all the pimps waiting in the shadows to give their new found career a boost. It’s NOT “goods” it’s a young woman’s life ….. as you wave it off!

    Cincinnatus, sin is a saleable “good” ? – that is “merely an exchange” ? – sex for money, which often equates to disease, some of which cannot be cured. Women who are brought under such an umbrella often are lured and used with drugs, etc. There is no way, even with laws that this has escaped those who have been taken prey, …. if such a dastardly law could be enacted, one can only weep for those who are caught within its web. and YOU APPROVE of this LAW?

    Cincinnatus – 75 – “Second, Grace and sg, lots of things are “evil.” I think we’ve established repeatedly on this blog that the “evilness” of a thing is not a sufficient argument for legally prohibiting said thing.”

    WRONG, when the results are a life ruined, perhaps manipulated into such a life by pimps, disease, and broken spirits, lack of self respect – there is nothing good to say.

    What I’m beginning to see Cincinnatus, is your dogged response in making prostitution law!!

  • Grace

    Cincinnatus – 75 – You say that prostitution in se creates public harms? Maybe, but that might be difficult to demonstrate (e.g., at its most basic level, prostitution is merely an exchange of goods;

    Sex for sale is merely an exchange of goods; It’s far more than that, it’s a lifestyle that hurts everyone it touches. How many young girls and women have turned to such a pit in distress, all the pimps waiting in the shadows to give their new found career a boost. It’s NOT “goods” it’s a young woman’s life ….. as you wave it off!

    Cincinnatus, sin is a saleable “good” ? – that is “merely an exchange” ? – sex for money, which often equates to disease, some of which cannot be cured. Women who are brought under such an umbrella often are lured and used with drugs, etc. There is no way, even with laws that this has escaped those who have been taken prey, …. if such a dastardly law could be enacted, one can only weep for those who are caught within its web. and YOU APPROVE of this LAW?

    Cincinnatus – 75 – “Second, Grace and sg, lots of things are “evil.” I think we’ve established repeatedly on this blog that the “evilness” of a thing is not a sufficient argument for legally prohibiting said thing.”

    WRONG, when the results are a life ruined, perhaps manipulated into such a life by pimps, disease, and broken spirits, lack of self respect – there is nothing good to say.

    What I’m beginning to see Cincinnatus, is your dogged response in making prostitution law!!

  • Cincinnatus

    What I’m beginning to see, Grace, is that you don’t bother reading even half a post before bloviating hysterically about it. I’ll come back when you do.

  • Cincinnatus

    What I’m beginning to see, Grace, is that you don’t bother reading even half a post before bloviating hysterically about it. I’ll come back when you do.

  • Jimmy Veith

    Kevin N said it best with his comment @ 7.

    “Neither the elevation of the collective/community as supreme (as in Marxist liberation theology) nor the elevation of the individual as supreme (as in libertarianism) is Biblical. The same error exists in both: ignoring the depth of the stain of human sin. Libertarianism is just a liberation theology of the right.”

    The two most important questions which define one’s political philosophy are these:

    1. What is most important? Individualism or Community? Me or We?

    2. In light of your answer to the first question, What is the proper role of the state?

    A libertarian would say the individual is supreme, and so the principal role of the state is to protect individual liberty.

    I consider myself to be a pragmatic moderate. Not because of some eastern philosophy that the middle way is always the best. (As a Christian, the Bible teaches that one should often reject the “middle way” in the area of faith and personal morality.) I am a pragmatic moderate in my political views because of my answer to the two questions posed above.

    My answer to the first question is both. The individual and the community are equally important. I value individual liberty and I believe that the individual is ultimately responsible for his or her actions. I equally value the idea of community. In a complex modern society we are dependent on the specialized labor of others to provide our basic necessities. Whether we like it or not, we are dependent on each other. In many respects, we are in the same boat.

    Therefore, my answer to the second question is that the role of the state is to both protect individual liberty and to promote the common good. The people are not to serve the state (as in fascism), but the state is to serve the people. The power of the state should be limited by various checks and balances, such as the rule of law as expressed by the Constitution and the will of the people as expressed by the ballot box. Also, government should be pragmatic in the exercise of power and should do what works.

    In the area of economics, I believe in capitalism and the free market. However, I recognize that the “invisible hand” can often slap people in the face. The state has a role to play in the economy by providing the proverbial “safety net”, and when necessary, impose appropriate rules and regulations to promote the common good. By pooling the resources of the people by means of taxation, the state can also do things that individuals or private companies can not do themselves, such as building highways, transportation systems, water and sewer systems, and provide for the common defense.

    Well, I could go on and on, but I think I will stop here to watch the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Memphis Grizzlies.

  • Jimmy Veith

    Kevin N said it best with his comment @ 7.

    “Neither the elevation of the collective/community as supreme (as in Marxist liberation theology) nor the elevation of the individual as supreme (as in libertarianism) is Biblical. The same error exists in both: ignoring the depth of the stain of human sin. Libertarianism is just a liberation theology of the right.”

    The two most important questions which define one’s political philosophy are these:

    1. What is most important? Individualism or Community? Me or We?

    2. In light of your answer to the first question, What is the proper role of the state?

    A libertarian would say the individual is supreme, and so the principal role of the state is to protect individual liberty.

    I consider myself to be a pragmatic moderate. Not because of some eastern philosophy that the middle way is always the best. (As a Christian, the Bible teaches that one should often reject the “middle way” in the area of faith and personal morality.) I am a pragmatic moderate in my political views because of my answer to the two questions posed above.

    My answer to the first question is both. The individual and the community are equally important. I value individual liberty and I believe that the individual is ultimately responsible for his or her actions. I equally value the idea of community. In a complex modern society we are dependent on the specialized labor of others to provide our basic necessities. Whether we like it or not, we are dependent on each other. In many respects, we are in the same boat.

    Therefore, my answer to the second question is that the role of the state is to both protect individual liberty and to promote the common good. The people are not to serve the state (as in fascism), but the state is to serve the people. The power of the state should be limited by various checks and balances, such as the rule of law as expressed by the Constitution and the will of the people as expressed by the ballot box. Also, government should be pragmatic in the exercise of power and should do what works.

    In the area of economics, I believe in capitalism and the free market. However, I recognize that the “invisible hand” can often slap people in the face. The state has a role to play in the economy by providing the proverbial “safety net”, and when necessary, impose appropriate rules and regulations to promote the common good. By pooling the resources of the people by means of taxation, the state can also do things that individuals or private companies can not do themselves, such as building highways, transportation systems, water and sewer systems, and provide for the common defense.

    Well, I could go on and on, but I think I will stop here to watch the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Memphis Grizzlies.

  • Grace

    Cincinnatus @ 82
    “What I’m beginning to see, Grace, is that you don’t bother reading even half a post before bloviating hysterically about it. I’ll come back when you do.”

    Oh….. I read your posts Cincinnatus…. you just don’t like my response. As for responding, … you cannot defend prostitution, unless of course you choose to side with ____________ fill in the blank/blanks. Prostitution is nothing but garbage, that is sold to women, or taken captive by pimps to ruin their lives, and give momentary pleasure to men who cannot or will not find love within the bounds of marriage !

    Sin has no bounds, but it does become “hysterical” when it’s life source is cut to to size,…. meaning eliminated!

  • Grace

    Cincinnatus @ 82
    “What I’m beginning to see, Grace, is that you don’t bother reading even half a post before bloviating hysterically about it. I’ll come back when you do.”

    Oh….. I read your posts Cincinnatus…. you just don’t like my response. As for responding, … you cannot defend prostitution, unless of course you choose to side with ____________ fill in the blank/blanks. Prostitution is nothing but garbage, that is sold to women, or taken captive by pimps to ruin their lives, and give momentary pleasure to men who cannot or will not find love within the bounds of marriage !

    Sin has no bounds, but it does become “hysterical” when it’s life source is cut to to size,…. meaning eliminated!

  • Jimmy Veith

    Well, the Oklahoma City Thunder just beat the Grizzlies so I will continue.

    The same theme of valuing both individualism and the community was voiced in a speech in Austin Texas yesterday by President Obama.

    “We’re rugged individualists, especially here in Texas. We’re self-reliant. We don’t like being told what to do. We believe each of us is endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights and liberties. That’s part of what makes us American. We’re proud of that.

    But what also makes us American is the idea that we’re all in it together; that I am my brother’s keeper, that I am my sister’s keeper; and that when I look out for somebody else, it’s not out of charity. It’s because my life is better. My life is richer. Because I’m driving down in Austin and I see some kids playing, I know they’re in a good school. And I see some seniors taking a walk together holding hands, I know that they’ve got some security. And if I go by a small business owner, I know that they’ve got opportunity. That’s — that makes my life better — when I know that the people around me have some measure of security and dignity and a shot at the American Dream.”

  • Jimmy Veith

    Well, the Oklahoma City Thunder just beat the Grizzlies so I will continue.

    The same theme of valuing both individualism and the community was voiced in a speech in Austin Texas yesterday by President Obama.

    “We’re rugged individualists, especially here in Texas. We’re self-reliant. We don’t like being told what to do. We believe each of us is endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights and liberties. That’s part of what makes us American. We’re proud of that.

    But what also makes us American is the idea that we’re all in it together; that I am my brother’s keeper, that I am my sister’s keeper; and that when I look out for somebody else, it’s not out of charity. It’s because my life is better. My life is richer. Because I’m driving down in Austin and I see some kids playing, I know they’re in a good school. And I see some seniors taking a walk together holding hands, I know that they’ve got some security. And if I go by a small business owner, I know that they’ve got opportunity. That’s — that makes my life better — when I know that the people around me have some measure of security and dignity and a shot at the American Dream.”

  • Grace

    Jimmy – 85 –

    “But what also makes us American is the idea that we’re all in it together; that I am my brother’s keeper, that I am my sister’s keeper; and that when I look out for somebody else, it’s not out of charity. It’s because my life is better. My life is richer.”

    Jimmy, …. life isn’t “richer” because we have more, it’s “richer” because we know Christ as our Savior. Some individuals have a great deal, but they are poor from the ‘get go’ they have no moral compass, they don’t have Christ.

    Jesus never owned a home, He had only a few robes to wear, yet He was the Son of God, the richest man ever to be born on this earth. This man who died for my deispicable sins, who laid down His life for those who would believe in Him as the Savior, was the richest man in every way that ever was, …… HE knew the heart of the woman at the well, and all the others who came to Him to be healed, He knows my heart, I cannot hide one thing from the Son of God.

    “Because I’m driving down in Austin and I see some kids playing, I know they’re in a good school. And I see some seniors taking a walk together holding hands, I know that they’ve got some security”

    Kids play, they play hard. perhaps tuning out the pain they suffer either from their home life or school. Kids playing is not a thermometer.

    Our elders taking a walk don’t necessarily have “security” many face adult children who couldn’t care less. They hold hands, and hope they will die at the same time, never having to face life without the other,…. left only with children who will ignore them, and perhaps place them in a facility that is less expensive, …. but will never give them the care they had before. How do I know this? I have witnessed it.

    Jimmy, observing people is not a gage in which you can determine a person’s life, or what they face. A school playground, a walk in the park is not the real thermometer, it’s a picture of what you want to see.

  • Grace

    Jimmy – 85 –

    “But what also makes us American is the idea that we’re all in it together; that I am my brother’s keeper, that I am my sister’s keeper; and that when I look out for somebody else, it’s not out of charity. It’s because my life is better. My life is richer.”

    Jimmy, …. life isn’t “richer” because we have more, it’s “richer” because we know Christ as our Savior. Some individuals have a great deal, but they are poor from the ‘get go’ they have no moral compass, they don’t have Christ.

    Jesus never owned a home, He had only a few robes to wear, yet He was the Son of God, the richest man ever to be born on this earth. This man who died for my deispicable sins, who laid down His life for those who would believe in Him as the Savior, was the richest man in every way that ever was, …… HE knew the heart of the woman at the well, and all the others who came to Him to be healed, He knows my heart, I cannot hide one thing from the Son of God.

    “Because I’m driving down in Austin and I see some kids playing, I know they’re in a good school. And I see some seniors taking a walk together holding hands, I know that they’ve got some security”

    Kids play, they play hard. perhaps tuning out the pain they suffer either from their home life or school. Kids playing is not a thermometer.

    Our elders taking a walk don’t necessarily have “security” many face adult children who couldn’t care less. They hold hands, and hope they will die at the same time, never having to face life without the other,…. left only with children who will ignore them, and perhaps place them in a facility that is less expensive, …. but will never give them the care they had before. How do I know this? I have witnessed it.

    Jimmy, observing people is not a gage in which you can determine a person’s life, or what they face. A school playground, a walk in the park is not the real thermometer, it’s a picture of what you want to see.

  • Jimmy Veith

    Grace @ 86:

    I think you missed the larger point of his speech. When read in its context, it is clear that the phrase, “my life is richer” does not mean that he will have more money because others do well. It just means that because we are all in it together, we should care for one another.

    As a fellow Christian, I agree with your comments about how Jesus is the source of our salvation and lived a life that was not materialistic. What I disagree with is your implication that what Obama said was somehow unchristian. I think you are being unfair here.

  • Jimmy Veith

    Grace @ 86:

    I think you missed the larger point of his speech. When read in its context, it is clear that the phrase, “my life is richer” does not mean that he will have more money because others do well. It just means that because we are all in it together, we should care for one another.

    As a fellow Christian, I agree with your comments about how Jesus is the source of our salvation and lived a life that was not materialistic. What I disagree with is your implication that what Obama said was somehow unchristian. I think you are being unfair here.

  • DonS

    Cincinnatus @ 75 — yes, I will back you up on that. I’m not sure we are on all fours on this issue, but there is no question that you are being misconstrued. Disfavoring a regulatory scheme is not tantamount to supporting or wishing to encourage the behavior intended to be regulated. It is, rather, often an acknowledgement that the regulatory scheme is not working, and is likely causing more harm than good to society at large.

    Cincinnatus is not supporting prostitution. He is, rather, supporting a reconsideration of the longstanding efforts, on the part of our governments, to prohibit it, as being expensive, intrusive, and ineffective. The same applies to drug distribution and usage. There are likely far better ways to address the human problems of prostitution and drug dependence, but they may well not involve government.

    Yes, Jimmy, we are our brother’s keeper, at least those of us who are Christians and take this responsibility seriously. But the “we” is not our government. It is an individual responsibility, as well as one of the Christian community. We address these problems by addressing them on a spiritual level, which government most definitively cannot do. Criminalizing sin cannot ensure that the sin will not be committed — we live in a fallen world.

    Thus, we are back to the issue of the proper role of government. As I said way above in my earlier comment, I cannot see any legitimate Constitutional purpose in the federal government being involved in these issues at all. At the state level, it is a political matter as to how to enact and enforce our criminal laws, as long as they preserve the guaranteed rights of each citizen under the Bill of Rights. But government works best, in my opinion, when it limits itself to preserving societal order by regulating behaviors that interfere with the rights of others to enjoy their life, liberty, and property. Of course, this might mean regulating certain elements of prostitution (i.e. zoning laws restricting time, space, and manner, exchanging of money in public, etc.), and of substance usage, such as driving under the influence, public intoxication, etc., but not the underlying activities if done discreetly in one’s home or in a proper place of business. In the meantime, those opposed to these activities are still free to protest them, use persuasive skills zone them into other parts of town, pray for those caught in the bondage of those particular vices, minister to and love those damaged by those vices, etc.

    Prostitution is said to be the oldest profession. We cannot legislate it out of existence, nor are the kinds of entrapment activities law enforcement officials engage in to combat it a very good use of public safety resources. Similarly, it is abundantly clear that we can’t legislate drug use out of existence, though we spend billions of tax dollars every year attempting to do just that. There are some (many) things government just should not be even attempting to do.

  • DonS

    Cincinnatus @ 75 — yes, I will back you up on that. I’m not sure we are on all fours on this issue, but there is no question that you are being misconstrued. Disfavoring a regulatory scheme is not tantamount to supporting or wishing to encourage the behavior intended to be regulated. It is, rather, often an acknowledgement that the regulatory scheme is not working, and is likely causing more harm than good to society at large.

    Cincinnatus is not supporting prostitution. He is, rather, supporting a reconsideration of the longstanding efforts, on the part of our governments, to prohibit it, as being expensive, intrusive, and ineffective. The same applies to drug distribution and usage. There are likely far better ways to address the human problems of prostitution and drug dependence, but they may well not involve government.

    Yes, Jimmy, we are our brother’s keeper, at least those of us who are Christians and take this responsibility seriously. But the “we” is not our government. It is an individual responsibility, as well as one of the Christian community. We address these problems by addressing them on a spiritual level, which government most definitively cannot do. Criminalizing sin cannot ensure that the sin will not be committed — we live in a fallen world.

    Thus, we are back to the issue of the proper role of government. As I said way above in my earlier comment, I cannot see any legitimate Constitutional purpose in the federal government being involved in these issues at all. At the state level, it is a political matter as to how to enact and enforce our criminal laws, as long as they preserve the guaranteed rights of each citizen under the Bill of Rights. But government works best, in my opinion, when it limits itself to preserving societal order by regulating behaviors that interfere with the rights of others to enjoy their life, liberty, and property. Of course, this might mean regulating certain elements of prostitution (i.e. zoning laws restricting time, space, and manner, exchanging of money in public, etc.), and of substance usage, such as driving under the influence, public intoxication, etc., but not the underlying activities if done discreetly in one’s home or in a proper place of business. In the meantime, those opposed to these activities are still free to protest them, use persuasive skills zone them into other parts of town, pray for those caught in the bondage of those particular vices, minister to and love those damaged by those vices, etc.

    Prostitution is said to be the oldest profession. We cannot legislate it out of existence, nor are the kinds of entrapment activities law enforcement officials engage in to combat it a very good use of public safety resources. Similarly, it is abundantly clear that we can’t legislate drug use out of existence, though we spend billions of tax dollars every year attempting to do just that. There are some (many) things government just should not be even attempting to do.

  • Jimmy Veith

    DonS @88:

    “But the “we” is not our government. It is an individual responsibility, as well as one of the Christian community. We address these problems by addressing them on a spiritual level, which government most definitively cannot do.“

    I agree that “we” includes the family and the Christian community, and it is our responsibility to teach our children well so they do not engage in addictive behavior. But in a democracy, “we” also includes the government. If a drug dealer sells crack to my daughter, neither I nor the Christian community can put the drug dealer in jail. Only the government can do that. That’s the way it is and that’s the way it should be.

  • Jimmy Veith

    DonS @88:

    “But the “we” is not our government. It is an individual responsibility, as well as one of the Christian community. We address these problems by addressing them on a spiritual level, which government most definitively cannot do.“

    I agree that “we” includes the family and the Christian community, and it is our responsibility to teach our children well so they do not engage in addictive behavior. But in a democracy, “we” also includes the government. If a drug dealer sells crack to my daughter, neither I nor the Christian community can put the drug dealer in jail. Only the government can do that. That’s the way it is and that’s the way it should be.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Don s @88

    I thought that lawyering was the worlds oldest profession.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Don s @88

    I thought that lawyering was the worlds oldest profession.

  • Louis

    Cincinnatus at 75: “You’re constructing a straw man–which is why I entered this conversation in the first place: almost all popular critiques of American libertarianism are attacking straw men. ”

    why is that? Is it becuse EVERYBODY misunderstands libertarianism? Or is it because libertarianism is an ill-defined ideal, difficult to put into real terms?

    Because reading libertarian arguments, it is very difficult not to get the impression of either anarchism-lite, or paleoconservatism wanting to sound more sexy.

  • Louis

    Cincinnatus at 75: “You’re constructing a straw man–which is why I entered this conversation in the first place: almost all popular critiques of American libertarianism are attacking straw men. ”

    why is that? Is it becuse EVERYBODY misunderstands libertarianism? Or is it because libertarianism is an ill-defined ideal, difficult to put into real terms?

    Because reading libertarian arguments, it is very difficult not to get the impression of either anarchism-lite, or paleoconservatism wanting to sound more sexy.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “it is a big deal that Amsterdam is rated 13th for quality of life out of thousands of cities in the world–even with legalized but regulated vice.”

    Based on what criteria?

    Anyway, Amsterdam is full of Dutchmen. We are not. I am guessing that other places using their policies would find their results would vary.

    The fact that the bulk of Dutch society is so pleasant and productive that a little vice doesn’t bring them down, in no way indicates that such a plan is scalable. Kiryas Joel is also pretty pleasant despite being the poorest town in America. Also not scalable.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “it is a big deal that Amsterdam is rated 13th for quality of life out of thousands of cities in the world–even with legalized but regulated vice.”

    Based on what criteria?

    Anyway, Amsterdam is full of Dutchmen. We are not. I am guessing that other places using their policies would find their results would vary.

    The fact that the bulk of Dutch society is so pleasant and productive that a little vice doesn’t bring them down, in no way indicates that such a plan is scalable. Kiryas Joel is also pretty pleasant despite being the poorest town in America. Also not scalable.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Criminalizing sin cannot ensure that the sin will not be committed — we live in a fallen world.”

    So.

    Decriminalizing it is de facto promotion. That is what we learned from legalizing and thereby legitimizing abortion. When you criminalize something, you stigmatize it. Then self respecting folks don’t want to be associated with it. When you legalize it, you send the message to the following generations that it has earned society’s stamp of approval. That is why it is sacrificing the the next generation for our convenience.

    When drugs are legal, employers will not be able to drug test and refuse employment to drug users. Imagine the safety and productivity gains.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Criminalizing sin cannot ensure that the sin will not be committed — we live in a fallen world.”

    So.

    Decriminalizing it is de facto promotion. That is what we learned from legalizing and thereby legitimizing abortion. When you criminalize something, you stigmatize it. Then self respecting folks don’t want to be associated with it. When you legalize it, you send the message to the following generations that it has earned society’s stamp of approval. That is why it is sacrificing the the next generation for our convenience.

    When drugs are legal, employers will not be able to drug test and refuse employment to drug users. Imagine the safety and productivity gains.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The problem with the drug war is that the penalties are too low. If we had the death penalty for drug dealing and it was meted out promptly, we would at least reduce recidivism.

    Cue the hue and cry.

    Anyway, when criminals have a really high threshold for pain, the state has to meet that threshold in order to be effective. Otherwise we lose.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The problem with the drug war is that the penalties are too low. If we had the death penalty for drug dealing and it was meted out promptly, we would at least reduce recidivism.

    Cue the hue and cry.

    Anyway, when criminals have a really high threshold for pain, the state has to meet that threshold in order to be effective. Otherwise we lose.

  • Cincinnatus

    sg: There you go again, conflating the malum in se of abortion and the purely habitual vice of drug abuse. Please make appropriate distinctions.

    Also, you’re wrong: there is plenty of social stigma regarding certain drinking habits. To wit, if I appear at work visibly impaired or if my extracurricular drinking habits interfere with my work habits, I can be fired on the spot, and the law has nothing to do with it.

    Therein lies the problem. A distinctive of classical conservatism is that is always acknowledged the human life is implicated in a panoply of distinct but interlocking domains, each with their proper delimitations and functions–social, cultural, religious, and last and also least, governmental (as distinct, perhaps, from political). Accordingly, political thinkers for ages have noted that the tools of government are inadequate and indeed counterproductive when countering vices or actions that take place within and are best confronted within the social or religious realms. Government is not the answer to all communal problems, most especially moral problems. That something is, strictly speaking, legal indicates nothing whatsoever about its broader legitimacy. The task of the state is certainly to protect the citizen body–hence, the state is derelict in its duty in permitting abortion on demand. But it is inappropriate to be drunk in public regardless of what the law says, and the law can neither create this social stigma nor destroy it, except, perhaps, over an excessive length of time and with an application of excessive force that will do more harm to the state’s overall legitimacy than if the action had been left in its proper social boundaries.

    Progressivism, on the other hand, have always regarded government as the proper tool to solve any communal problem (this is an oversimplification of course, but it works). Is there a moral problem? Government can fix it. Poverty? Social breakdown? The government is regarded as not only the appropriate instrument but often the only instrument. Conservatives should do better, whether they consider themselves libertarians or not.

  • Cincinnatus

    sg: There you go again, conflating the malum in se of abortion and the purely habitual vice of drug abuse. Please make appropriate distinctions.

    Also, you’re wrong: there is plenty of social stigma regarding certain drinking habits. To wit, if I appear at work visibly impaired or if my extracurricular drinking habits interfere with my work habits, I can be fired on the spot, and the law has nothing to do with it.

    Therein lies the problem. A distinctive of classical conservatism is that is always acknowledged the human life is implicated in a panoply of distinct but interlocking domains, each with their proper delimitations and functions–social, cultural, religious, and last and also least, governmental (as distinct, perhaps, from political). Accordingly, political thinkers for ages have noted that the tools of government are inadequate and indeed counterproductive when countering vices or actions that take place within and are best confronted within the social or religious realms. Government is not the answer to all communal problems, most especially moral problems. That something is, strictly speaking, legal indicates nothing whatsoever about its broader legitimacy. The task of the state is certainly to protect the citizen body–hence, the state is derelict in its duty in permitting abortion on demand. But it is inappropriate to be drunk in public regardless of what the law says, and the law can neither create this social stigma nor destroy it, except, perhaps, over an excessive length of time and with an application of excessive force that will do more harm to the state’s overall legitimacy than if the action had been left in its proper social boundaries.

    Progressivism, on the other hand, have always regarded government as the proper tool to solve any communal problem (this is an oversimplification of course, but it works). Is there a moral problem? Government can fix it. Poverty? Social breakdown? The government is regarded as not only the appropriate instrument but often the only instrument. Conservatives should do better, whether they consider themselves libertarians or not.

  • Cincinnatus

    eek…numerous typos. Hopefully my last post is legible. I should develop the patience to edit.

  • Cincinnatus

    eek…numerous typos. Hopefully my last post is legible. I should develop the patience to edit.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I can’t really see that alcohol and drug use are very similar. People are much more adapted to alcohol than to the popular illicit drugs which are currently illegal.

    Once legal limits are eliminate, stigma erodes quickly. I am not sure why you think that the abortion example is wholly different regarding the perception of an activity based on whether it is legal or illegal. Illegal activities are stigmatized because they are illegal. They may also be stigmatized for other reasons, but they may not.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I can’t really see that alcohol and drug use are very similar. People are much more adapted to alcohol than to the popular illicit drugs which are currently illegal.

    Once legal limits are eliminate, stigma erodes quickly. I am not sure why you think that the abortion example is wholly different regarding the perception of an activity based on whether it is legal or illegal. Illegal activities are stigmatized because they are illegal. They may also be stigmatized for other reasons, but they may not.

  • DonS

    FWS @ 90: Haha — true enough. And there are a lot of similarities between the two as well, many say :-)

  • DonS

    FWS @ 90: Haha — true enough. And there are a lot of similarities between the two as well, many say :-)

  • DonS

    Jimmy @ 89: Well, we are certainly agreed that the role of government is to maintain social order, and to ensure that laws are enforced, and that punishments are meted out as required by those laws. But, we the individual and community, not our government, are our brothers’ keepers.

  • DonS

    Jimmy @ 89: Well, we are certainly agreed that the role of government is to maintain social order, and to ensure that laws are enforced, and that punishments are meted out as required by those laws. But, we the individual and community, not our government, are our brothers’ keepers.

  • Cincinnatus

    Let’s put it this way, sg: The social stigma erodes long before the legal barriers do, and thus legal barrier are fruitless after the stigma is dissolved.

    The laws can’t make a people.

  • Cincinnatus

    Let’s put it this way, sg: The social stigma erodes long before the legal barriers do, and thus legal barrier are fruitless after the stigma is dissolved.

    The laws can’t make a people.

  • DonS

    sg @ 93: Decriminalization, i.e. determining that government prohibition is expensive, a waste of scarce law enforcement resources, ineffective, and overly intrusive, and that re-focusing our resources to protecting those impacted by the behavior of others, is most decidedly not the same as promotion. To think so is to be caught up in the notion that we are defined by what our government does, not by what we do as a community and as individual citizens.

    I, most decidedly, am not defined by what my government does, or how it apportions the resources it extracts from the taxpayers.

    On the other hand, to impose government programs to hand clean needles to drug addicts IS to promote substance abuse. It is an offense to me that my government would even conceive of such a wrongheaded notion.

    Abortion is the murder of innocent life. That life needs to be protected by the vigorous enforcement of criminal laws, and isn’t. Voluntary substance abuse is not in that category, as long as its use does not harm third parties in a definable and actionable way. If it does, by placing a spouse or child in physical danger, or fellow motorists, for example, then the criminal laws apply. The key is to regard the role of government as protecting citizens from the actions of others which harm their right to enjoyment of life, liberty, and property.

  • DonS

    sg @ 93: Decriminalization, i.e. determining that government prohibition is expensive, a waste of scarce law enforcement resources, ineffective, and overly intrusive, and that re-focusing our resources to protecting those impacted by the behavior of others, is most decidedly not the same as promotion. To think so is to be caught up in the notion that we are defined by what our government does, not by what we do as a community and as individual citizens.

    I, most decidedly, am not defined by what my government does, or how it apportions the resources it extracts from the taxpayers.

    On the other hand, to impose government programs to hand clean needles to drug addicts IS to promote substance abuse. It is an offense to me that my government would even conceive of such a wrongheaded notion.

    Abortion is the murder of innocent life. That life needs to be protected by the vigorous enforcement of criminal laws, and isn’t. Voluntary substance abuse is not in that category, as long as its use does not harm third parties in a definable and actionable way. If it does, by placing a spouse or child in physical danger, or fellow motorists, for example, then the criminal laws apply. The key is to regard the role of government as protecting citizens from the actions of others which harm their right to enjoyment of life, liberty, and property.

  • Grace

    Jimmy @87

    YOU WROTE: “I think you missed the larger point of his speech. When read in its context, it is clear that the phrase, “my life is richer” does not mean that he will have more money because others do well. It just means that because we are all in it together, we should care for one another.”

    No Jimmy, I didn’t miss a beat on that speech. It’s the same old garbage that BO used last time around to capture an audience, win an election, and produce no fruit. We ended up with a deficit that this countries children and grandchildren will be paying for years into their old age. This man, who blurted out “Yes we can” over and over again, but threw together a health bill that stinks, it’s not going anywhere – that’s the reason the House was swept last election, and the Senate received a partial cleaning – that’s why BO has little support, except from people like you who practice liberalism or shall we play with words, and call it “progressive” which is just another word for progressing down the SOCI@LISM road to disaster.

    Below is an excerpt from that speech Obama made, and a link.

    President Obama in His Own Words
    Tue May 10, 2011
    By Ian Crawford
    “So whenever you hear people saying that our problems now are too big to solve, or we can’t bring about the change that we were talking about, or boy, politics is so nasty — whenever cynicism rears its ugly head — I want you to think about all the progress we’ve made already. I want you to think how unlikely it was the first time around. I want you to think about all the unfinished business that lies ahead. And I want to — I want you to remember and I want you to remind everybody else those three simple words that summed up our last campaign and that will sum up our spirit as a people: Yes, we can.

    http://www.kutnews.org/post/president-obama-his-own-words

    No we cannot! Obama isn’t capable, he has been a complete failure in the Oval Office. Last election just months ago gave voice to the roar of change, and it’s not more of what we’ve had since this man took office.

  • Grace

    Jimmy @87

    YOU WROTE: “I think you missed the larger point of his speech. When read in its context, it is clear that the phrase, “my life is richer” does not mean that he will have more money because others do well. It just means that because we are all in it together, we should care for one another.”

    No Jimmy, I didn’t miss a beat on that speech. It’s the same old garbage that BO used last time around to capture an audience, win an election, and produce no fruit. We ended up with a deficit that this countries children and grandchildren will be paying for years into their old age. This man, who blurted out “Yes we can” over and over again, but threw together a health bill that stinks, it’s not going anywhere – that’s the reason the House was swept last election, and the Senate received a partial cleaning – that’s why BO has little support, except from people like you who practice liberalism or shall we play with words, and call it “progressive” which is just another word for progressing down the SOCI@LISM road to disaster.

    Below is an excerpt from that speech Obama made, and a link.

    President Obama in His Own Words
    Tue May 10, 2011
    By Ian Crawford
    “So whenever you hear people saying that our problems now are too big to solve, or we can’t bring about the change that we were talking about, or boy, politics is so nasty — whenever cynicism rears its ugly head — I want you to think about all the progress we’ve made already. I want you to think how unlikely it was the first time around. I want you to think about all the unfinished business that lies ahead. And I want to — I want you to remember and I want you to remind everybody else those three simple words that summed up our last campaign and that will sum up our spirit as a people: Yes, we can.

    http://www.kutnews.org/post/president-obama-his-own-words

    No we cannot! Obama isn’t capable, he has been a complete failure in the Oval Office. Last election just months ago gave voice to the roar of change, and it’s not more of what we’ve had since this man took office.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    The problem with laws involving embezzlement, perjury, littering, loitering, trespassing, speeding, and public urination is that the penalties are too low. If we had the death penalty for all of these and it was meted out promptly, we would at least reduce recidivism.

    Cue the hue and cry.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    The problem with laws involving embezzlement, perjury, littering, loitering, trespassing, speeding, and public urination is that the penalties are too low. If we had the death penalty for all of these and it was meted out promptly, we would at least reduce recidivism.

    Cue the hue and cry.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    todd @ 103

    I agree. I would add to that poop scoop ordinances. and especially those ordinances about noisy leaf blowers. and the added benefit of the death penalty is that there would be a lower cost since incarceration would not be needed. but first we would have to eliminate judicial and jury descretion here. we would want uniform sentencing to make things all fair.

    and we would want quick justice. we can just put up cameras everywhere to not have to worry about killing the wrong person or killling someone who did not actually litter , urinate or neglect to scoop,

    and the infractions and executions should be on you tube . I know this would cut into the ratings of fox news, but….oh well.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    todd @ 103

    I agree. I would add to that poop scoop ordinances. and especially those ordinances about noisy leaf blowers. and the added benefit of the death penalty is that there would be a lower cost since incarceration would not be needed. but first we would have to eliminate judicial and jury descretion here. we would want uniform sentencing to make things all fair.

    and we would want quick justice. we can just put up cameras everywhere to not have to worry about killing the wrong person or killling someone who did not actually litter , urinate or neglect to scoop,

    and the infractions and executions should be on you tube . I know this would cut into the ratings of fox news, but….oh well.

  • Cincinnatus

    For a fine piece on the dangers of excessive implementation of the death penalty, see Sir/St. Thomas More’s Utopia. England under Henry VIII proudly and punitively executed thieves, with little discernible deterrence against thievery (if one is going to die of starvation without stealing–coughwithout dealing heroin–then why bother refraining?). Thomas More appropriately reveals that widespread thievery is a mere symptom of a systemic social failure, and that, accordingly, the way in which to disincentivize or eliminate theft does not involve the coercive instruments of the state.

  • Cincinnatus

    For a fine piece on the dangers of excessive implementation of the death penalty, see Sir/St. Thomas More’s Utopia. England under Henry VIII proudly and punitively executed thieves, with little discernible deterrence against thievery (if one is going to die of starvation without stealing–coughwithout dealing heroin–then why bother refraining?). Thomas More appropriately reveals that widespread thievery is a mere symptom of a systemic social failure, and that, accordingly, the way in which to disincentivize or eliminate theft does not involve the coercive instruments of the state.

  • Grace

    Jimmy 87

    There is a short video – very interesting!

    Sen. Rand Paul: Right To Health Care Is Like Believing In “Slavery”

    May 12, 2011

    “N. RAND PAUL (R-KY): “With regard to the idea of whether you have a right to health care, you have realize what that implies. It’s not an abstraction. I’m a physician. That means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me. It means you believe in slavery.”

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/05/12/sen_rand_paul_right_to_health_care_is_like_believing_in_slavery.html

  • Grace

    Jimmy 87

    There is a short video – very interesting!

    Sen. Rand Paul: Right To Health Care Is Like Believing In “Slavery”

    May 12, 2011

    “N. RAND PAUL (R-KY): “With regard to the idea of whether you have a right to health care, you have realize what that implies. It’s not an abstraction. I’m a physician. That means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me. It means you believe in slavery.”

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/05/12/sen_rand_paul_right_to_health_care_is_like_believing_in_slavery.html

  • Jimmy Veith

    Grace @ 106

    Slavery is involuntary servitude without compensation.

    No one is saying that medical providers should be forced to provide medical care to people without being compensated for it. In fact, with over 50 million people without insurance, medical providers currently provide services to people without compensation and pass on the costs to those of use who have insurance. This inflates the medical costs of the insured by approximately $1,200.00 per year.

    For example, let’s assume that I am a medical provider and I provide a service in which I need to make $1,000.00 per procedure to cover my costs and make a reasonable profit. If I do 3 of these procedures and all my patients have insurance then I can charge $1,000.00 each and make $3,000.00. However, if only 2 of my 3 patients are insured and can pay for my services, I will have to charge $1,5000.00 for each patient to make my $3,000.00.

    Obama’s health care reform is designed to reduce the number of uninsured, which will increase the likelihood that medical providers will actually be compensated for everything they do. This will reduce the cost to those who are currently insured.

    I think it is a bit distasteful to equate uncompensated medical providers with the institution of slavery. However, if you accept this analogy, and you want to reduce this so-called “slavery” of medical providers, you should support health care reform.

  • Jimmy Veith

    Grace @ 106

    Slavery is involuntary servitude without compensation.

    No one is saying that medical providers should be forced to provide medical care to people without being compensated for it. In fact, with over 50 million people without insurance, medical providers currently provide services to people without compensation and pass on the costs to those of use who have insurance. This inflates the medical costs of the insured by approximately $1,200.00 per year.

    For example, let’s assume that I am a medical provider and I provide a service in which I need to make $1,000.00 per procedure to cover my costs and make a reasonable profit. If I do 3 of these procedures and all my patients have insurance then I can charge $1,000.00 each and make $3,000.00. However, if only 2 of my 3 patients are insured and can pay for my services, I will have to charge $1,5000.00 for each patient to make my $3,000.00.

    Obama’s health care reform is designed to reduce the number of uninsured, which will increase the likelihood that medical providers will actually be compensated for everything they do. This will reduce the cost to those who are currently insured.

    I think it is a bit distasteful to equate uncompensated medical providers with the institution of slavery. However, if you accept this analogy, and you want to reduce this so-called “slavery” of medical providers, you should support health care reform.

  • Grace

    Jimmy – 107

    YOU WROTE: “For example, let’s assume that I am a medical provider and I provide a service in which I need to make $1,000.00 per procedure to cover my costs and make a reasonable profit. If I do 3 of these procedures and all my patients have insurance then I can charge $1,000.00 each and make $3,000.00.”

    Stop right there – using this sort of, as you call it, “example” is not how it works….. you’re guessing, trying to hold up BO’s plan which is NO PLAN.

    My background is in medicine – what you have described doesn’t come close to resolving the problem.

    YOU WROTE: “Obama’s health care reform is designed to reduce the number of uninsured, which will increase the likelihood that medical providers will actually be compensated for everything they do. This will reduce the cost to those who are currently insured.”

    Your comment above is totally untrue – you’re looking through rose colored glasses. Unless you are in medicine, you’re guessing, and that is just what Obama does, …. he guesses, and hopes the masses will believe him. His ‘health care’ plan is bogus.

    I don’t agree with everything Rand Paul states, but I do agree that people have to take responsibility for their health insurance. Illegal aliens are costing this country, and most certainly, California, AZ, Texas, New Mezixo a great deal of money regarding ‘health care’ – Just one of the problems BO cannot face.

  • Grace

    Jimmy – 107

    YOU WROTE: “For example, let’s assume that I am a medical provider and I provide a service in which I need to make $1,000.00 per procedure to cover my costs and make a reasonable profit. If I do 3 of these procedures and all my patients have insurance then I can charge $1,000.00 each and make $3,000.00.”

    Stop right there – using this sort of, as you call it, “example” is not how it works….. you’re guessing, trying to hold up BO’s plan which is NO PLAN.

    My background is in medicine – what you have described doesn’t come close to resolving the problem.

    YOU WROTE: “Obama’s health care reform is designed to reduce the number of uninsured, which will increase the likelihood that medical providers will actually be compensated for everything they do. This will reduce the cost to those who are currently insured.”

    Your comment above is totally untrue – you’re looking through rose colored glasses. Unless you are in medicine, you’re guessing, and that is just what Obama does, …. he guesses, and hopes the masses will believe him. His ‘health care’ plan is bogus.

    I don’t agree with everything Rand Paul states, but I do agree that people have to take responsibility for their health insurance. Illegal aliens are costing this country, and most certainly, California, AZ, Texas, New Mezixo a great deal of money regarding ‘health care’ – Just one of the problems BO cannot face.

  • Grace

    Jimmy – 107

    YOU WROTE: “For example, let’s assume that I am a medical provider and I provide a service in which I need to make $1,000.00 per procedure to cover my costs and make a reasonable profit. If I do 3 of these procedures and all my patients have insurance then I can charge $1,000.00 each and make $3,000.00. However, if only 2 of my 3 patients are insured and can pay for my services, I will have to charge $1,5000.00 for each patient to make my $3,000.00.”

    I should have added this to my last post.

    You are not taking into effect the person, or insurance companys, what you’re suggesting is nonsense (that which the vast population in the U.S. observed and voted the House out) that is nothing short of full blown SOCI@LISM -

  • Grace

    Jimmy – 107

    YOU WROTE: “For example, let’s assume that I am a medical provider and I provide a service in which I need to make $1,000.00 per procedure to cover my costs and make a reasonable profit. If I do 3 of these procedures and all my patients have insurance then I can charge $1,000.00 each and make $3,000.00. However, if only 2 of my 3 patients are insured and can pay for my services, I will have to charge $1,5000.00 for each patient to make my $3,000.00.”

    I should have added this to my last post.

    You are not taking into effect the person, or insurance companys, what you’re suggesting is nonsense (that which the vast population in the U.S. observed and voted the House out) that is nothing short of full blown SOCI@LISM -

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    All this talk of Prohibition and legalization and no one has mentioned what our War on Drugs has done to Mexico. More people die there in the narco trade every year than American casualties in both Iraq and Afghanistan since the start of those wars. It is a failed and corrupt state teetering on the brink of civil war all because a gram of cocaine is worth more than it’s weight in gold if you can get it across our borders.
    People get shot over twenty five dollars worth of crack cocaine in parts of Los Angeles.
    The legalization of medical marijuana in California is taking a huge bite out of the cartels’ profits and forcing them to move that part of their business to areas with stricter laws.

    I used to vacation down in Mexico, but the border areas are so dangerous that we haven’t gone back in several years.

    Meanwhile prisons and prison staffing are one of the few growth areas in Ca. Who fills these prisons? Mostly drug offenders of course.

    The war on drugs is broken and dangerous and needs to be reconsidered.

    As to Ron Paul, he is the only candidate in the running whose knee jerk reaction to everything ISN’T more government intervention. He consistently votes his conscience often in the face of overwhelming odds and isn’t beholden to corporate campaign donations and lobbyists. He is the only one I can vote for and be sure that it will not be politics as usual if he gets in. All the other candidates are varying shades of more and bigger government and promotion of the status quo.

    Not being a lifelong Lutheran, one of the things that saddens me is the Lutheran default towards government authoritarianism. That worked so well for us in Germany in the 1930′s and 40′s you would think that we would ponder that more deeply.

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    All this talk of Prohibition and legalization and no one has mentioned what our War on Drugs has done to Mexico. More people die there in the narco trade every year than American casualties in both Iraq and Afghanistan since the start of those wars. It is a failed and corrupt state teetering on the brink of civil war all because a gram of cocaine is worth more than it’s weight in gold if you can get it across our borders.
    People get shot over twenty five dollars worth of crack cocaine in parts of Los Angeles.
    The legalization of medical marijuana in California is taking a huge bite out of the cartels’ profits and forcing them to move that part of their business to areas with stricter laws.

    I used to vacation down in Mexico, but the border areas are so dangerous that we haven’t gone back in several years.

    Meanwhile prisons and prison staffing are one of the few growth areas in Ca. Who fills these prisons? Mostly drug offenders of course.

    The war on drugs is broken and dangerous and needs to be reconsidered.

    As to Ron Paul, he is the only candidate in the running whose knee jerk reaction to everything ISN’T more government intervention. He consistently votes his conscience often in the face of overwhelming odds and isn’t beholden to corporate campaign donations and lobbyists. He is the only one I can vote for and be sure that it will not be politics as usual if he gets in. All the other candidates are varying shades of more and bigger government and promotion of the status quo.

    Not being a lifelong Lutheran, one of the things that saddens me is the Lutheran default towards government authoritarianism. That worked so well for us in Germany in the 1930′s and 40′s you would think that we would ponder that more deeply.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Pat @ 140

    That is because Lutherans have bought into the idea that the 2nd and 3rd article are Mercy and Goodness done without our Reason or Strength, whereas the 1st article Goodness and Mercy won’t happen without our reason and strength.

    Luther says in his brilliant FC art Vi sermon that even we christians are to learn to do Natural Law willingly, which is the Law Revealed by God in our Reason, precisely so God does not have to force us to do it by sending plagues and pestilence. This is what is meant by the phrase “to fear God.” Fear is real fear.

    Those who do not have the new heart movements of regeneration have the veiled understanding of Natural Law that says that we can manage all 3 articles by our doing. So authoritarian-ism is the idolatry of thinking that authority will save us.

    At the same time most who are authoritarian briddle at the Law of God or his Punishment for our sin found in those Laws we loathe in the form of poop scoop ordinances, the tax code, nagging spouses, and welfare laws.

  • http://www.thirduse.com fws

    Pat @ 140

    That is because Lutherans have bought into the idea that the 2nd and 3rd article are Mercy and Goodness done without our Reason or Strength, whereas the 1st article Goodness and Mercy won’t happen without our reason and strength.

    Luther says in his brilliant FC art Vi sermon that even we christians are to learn to do Natural Law willingly, which is the Law Revealed by God in our Reason, precisely so God does not have to force us to do it by sending plagues and pestilence. This is what is meant by the phrase “to fear God.” Fear is real fear.

    Those who do not have the new heart movements of regeneration have the veiled understanding of Natural Law that says that we can manage all 3 articles by our doing. So authoritarian-ism is the idolatry of thinking that authority will save us.

    At the same time most who are authoritarian briddle at the Law of God or his Punishment for our sin found in those Laws we loathe in the form of poop scoop ordinances, the tax code, nagging spouses, and welfare laws.

  • Dax

    Way i see it…

    Drugs: They are going to happen, I was sitting in a park with a cop on patrol in the area. Many people walk up and offer me all different kinds of drugs. Wasted millions trying to prohibit drugs and all i have to do is sit in a park to get them? Fail.

    Prostitution: It’s going to happen. Women will sell themselves and/or will be kidnapped by pimps to be sold. It hasn’t been stopped yet, and it wont be. Make it legal, provide protection ect. ect. And give them the ability to decide if they want to go alone, get out of being a hooker, or find a company who will treat them better.

    All in all, these things wil happen. And now amount of complaining about how “wrong it is” will stop it. Make it legal, tax it, and so long as the person isn’t hurting anyone else, i can’t say i really care. There are enough drug PSA’s that these addicts knew they would get addicted if they tried them even once.
    No sympothy. Cold and brutal? Yes, Realistic and demanding people take charge of their own lives? Damm skippy.

  • Dax

    Way i see it…

    Drugs: They are going to happen, I was sitting in a park with a cop on patrol in the area. Many people walk up and offer me all different kinds of drugs. Wasted millions trying to prohibit drugs and all i have to do is sit in a park to get them? Fail.

    Prostitution: It’s going to happen. Women will sell themselves and/or will be kidnapped by pimps to be sold. It hasn’t been stopped yet, and it wont be. Make it legal, provide protection ect. ect. And give them the ability to decide if they want to go alone, get out of being a hooker, or find a company who will treat them better.

    All in all, these things wil happen. And now amount of complaining about how “wrong it is” will stop it. Make it legal, tax it, and so long as the person isn’t hurting anyone else, i can’t say i really care. There are enough drug PSA’s that these addicts knew they would get addicted if they tried them even once.
    No sympothy. Cold and brutal? Yes, Realistic and demanding people take charge of their own lives? Damm skippy.

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