Okay, if you STILL haven't figured it out yet, Libertarianism is that radical notion that you don't actually own another human being. Under this philosophy, you still have the right to own personal property, make decisions for your own children while they are still minors, et cetera. You don't, however, have the right to tell another human adult how to run his or her life...with a few minor caveats. These are pretty basic, really. The first exception to this rule is if you are the paying employer of someone who willfully enters into employment for you. The second would be when another person, by virtue of his actions, directly prevents you from exercising your own natural rights. Other than that, you have to grin and bear it...just like they have to do, when you live your own life the way you want.
One of the biggest parts of the libertarian philosophy involves the role of business in our lives. We, as citizens of these United States, have the opportunity to work hard and make our lives better because of this hard work. Government (the "G-word" so hated by Libertarians) has long-since had its dirty little hands in business, and the two dominant parties have seemingly opposing (yet strikingly similar) views of what is good and bad when business and government intermingle.
The republican party has long-since touted itself as the "free market" party, yet nothing could be further from the truth. Democrats, on the other hand, have also mislead Americans by claiming that they represent "the common man".
While I have a tendency to harp on the US War on (some) Drugs a bit more than I probably should at times, I'm going to use it tonight for the reason that it provides an all-encompassing scenario in which the Libertarian ideal may be explained. Just for kicks, I'm going to use some old-school gangsta rap to get that message across!
For those unfamiliar with the recordings of Ice-T, you may know him as Odafin 'Fin' Tutuola from the television series "Law & Order: SVU". Pardon the language, and pay close attention to the message.
Now, let's get back to the Libertarian ideal of self-ownership. In the video, we see that there's a seedy underworld of drugs, machine guns, pimping, prostitution, violent assaults, and just about every other thing unlawful and unwanted you can think of.
Moving right along, let's look at other places where personal freedom is valued and respected.
In Amsterdam, where authorities turn a blind eye to drug abuse, we don't have rampant drug-related gang violence. You can go to any decent cafe and buy your reefer...in 31 flavors, if you choose. In Houston, TX (60 miles away from where I'll sleep tonight, and drugs are outlawed), it is highly likely that there will be at least one homicide involving drugs because tonight is a Friday night. If you're shooting smack on a crowded Amsterdam streetcorner, you're likely to go to jail...but you aren't likely to see a news report about a heroin dealer's dope house getting raided by the Amsterdam SWAT team after a year-long investigation.
In Nevada, some lonely truck driver will be getting his rocks off in a whorehouse, and he'll be paying his hard-earned money to do so. A lawful and licensed prostitute will perform sexual favors for this truck driver, and may even be interviewed for an HBO reality TV series afterward. Again in Houston, TX, we will likely hear within the next month about how an underground prostitution ring (most likely involving minors or illegal immigrant "sex slaves"), and the cops will likely have driven past at least a dozen of these whorehouses on their way to the one they are busting.
I may or may not have consumed my fair share of Mexican horticulture in my younger days, but I can assure you that it wasn't a D.A.R.E. program or a threat of going to jail that kept me from smoking crack for all of my almost 31 years. No, rather, it was common sense. While I may have dated some women that even my own mother probably wouldn't approve of, I can honestly say that I've never paid for sexual favors...but if I wanted to, everyone knows where Clinton Drive is at. Government regulation has not lessened the demand, nor has it lessened the supply, for drugs and hookers. All government interference in the problem has accomplished is an increase in price.
Is prostitution good for the mental and physical health of anyone involved? Of course not. Everyone from your shrink to your priest will tell you that being a hooker OR buying a hooker is bad for your head...and that doesn't even cover the STD aspect. Drugs? Same issues. It's bad for your mental state on so many levels, and it ravishes your body.
This leads us to two interesting issues we, as a supposedly free society, must deal with. First and foremost, what right does any person have to tell another adult what to do with his or her body? Second, what effects are government intervention REALLY having on the situation?
CAPITALISM. It's been a "dirty word" for so long that it's not even funny...but it's what makes America keep on rolling. It's also ingrained into the human psyche. We want better for ourselves, and this is just human nature.
When you outlaw something on the basis of "morality" (as is the case with the republican party) or "for the common good" (as is the case with the democratic party), and yet the people still demand it, you have opened up the doors for true capitalism in its most raw and unrefined form. It stops being a system according to the laws of free civilized men, and becomes the law of the jungle.
I do not "support" or "advocate" drug abuse or prostitution. What I am advocating is the removal of government prohibition of the sale of drugs and sexual favors. I understand if this isn't making sense to you, because I run into that quite a bit...but take a second look.
In the video presented above, you see the Original Gangsta glamorizing the "pimpin, hustlin', gangsta lifestyle". The "get in my way, and I'll beat you down or just shoot you with my illegally-obtained weapons" mentality is prevalent, as are the products purchased by his ill-gotten gains.
When you outlaw something the people demand, the demand is NOT going to stop. Crack addicts aren't going to stop craving crack, just because you said they will get locked up for being in possession of crack. When you make it something that costs $80 a day because of prohibition, as opposed to $8 a day it would cost if there were no criminals willing to overcharge for the privilege of smoking a substance your government says you aren't allowed to have.
Prostitution, likewise, isn't going anywhere. There's a reason why it's called "The World's Oldest Profession". In Nevada, where licensed prostitution is legal, you have women who fill out applications and take physicals to ensure that they aren't spreading disease. They are vying for openings at brothels, who have no trouble in attracting women who want the job. In Texas, where prostitution is illegal, we have abusive pimps who make outlandish amounts of money selling the services of "sex slaves" who are often underage illegal immigrants.
So the real question comes down to this...even if you don't support the notion of smoking crack or boning hookers...has government involvement really "helped" the situation? No, not really...
Every morning, I look at the Houston Chronicle's website. We continuously see drug-related shootings, and illegal immigrants being forced into the sex trade.
Obviously, smoking crack and selling your cooter are both bad for your health, physical and mental. But ask yourself this...if you had to take your pick, would you ABSOLUTELY HAD to have someone selling crack to someone in your neighborhood, would you want it to be Hajji at the Kwik-E-Mart up the street, who wouldn't hesitate to call the cops if it got out of hand, or would you want unlicensed and unregulated gangbangers selling crack behind the Kwik-E-Mart who wouldn't hesitate to shoot you if you got in the way of a sale?
If you ABSOLUTELY HAD to have someone pimping a whore in your neighborhood, would you want it to be a heavily-armed member of MS-13 renting out a 12 year old El Salvadorian girl forced into the business to pay off her smuggling debts, or would you want it to be a scumbag former used car salesman who now rents adult hookers in a zoned portion of town after they've been properly inspected and licensed?
You obviously aren't going to stop drugs and prostitution. Drugs and prostitution will always be run by unsavory characters. You have your choice...would you rather that drugs and hookers be regulated and licensed by the state, or would you rather they be regulated and licensed by whoever has enough stroke to control that corner tonight?
The choice is yours. Hopefully, you will see the folly in our flawed system of prohibiting personal freedoms, and will begin to vote Libertarian.
A wise man once said, "Popular speech doesn't need to be defended...but all speech must remain free." Actions, like speech, must remain free, even if we don't agree with them. If you think certain actions are wrong or immoral, make it your mission in life to teach others that such actions shouldn't be a part of someone's life. I didn't need a D.A.R.E. program to keep me from shooting smack...the Alice In Chains album "Dirt" did enough for me. I didn't need a law against prostitution to tell me that I shouldn't bang a hooker...the "consequence education" slide show did that for me.
Government intervention in the form of DEA, vice cops, et cetera has done irreparable damage to so many innocent people that its effects cannot be quantified. We haven't even begun to attempt to tabulate the damage done to people by willful criminals who see an opportunity to engage in unlawful activities, because society and our legislature has deemed something to be "immoral".
If a liquor store sells a gallon of Vodka to a person, and that person drinks it in one sitting and dies, that person is responsible for his own actions. Under the laws of many states, doing the same thing with cocaine can literally end in a death sentence for the seller. Merely selling a particular quantity of a drug can literally give a person a life sentence in all states.
If a person is willing to risk 25 years in prison for the sale of a controlled substance, what makes you think he gives a damn about your kids? On the other hand, liquor store clerks can make a legal paycheck every week...but may be fined or arrested if they sell to an underage person, which makes them check ID before selling a gallon of Vodka to someone.
In Nevada, if you lack the necessary paperwork, you go to jail for pimping or whoring. If you have the necessary paperwork, you become a part of the lawful workforce. In Texas, there is no paperwork for legal prostitution, which makes everyone involved a "criminal"...so if a person is willing to risk jail for pimping an adult, what makes you think he's unwilling to risk jail for pimping a child?
Again, I direct you to the video...and this time, pay close attention to the lyrics.
"Lock me up, a genocidal catastrophe...there will be another one after me. A HUSTLER."