HB V

is older than it's ever been and now it's even older

5/30/2001

A foolish consistency


On the way up to Canada, I amused myself by continuing my attempt to come up with a coherent political philosophy. Basically, it went like this: I thought of an issue, and attempted to synthesize what my position should be based on my previously stated opinions. This is a fun game. Try it yourself. I am a hardcore libertarian when it comes to individual rights. I don’t believe the government should intervene in one’s private life unless there is a compelling societal cause. That compelling societal cause is the protection of other individuals.

My reasoning is shaped by a few things. First, is a general belief in government as the Strong Arm of society, shaped by agreement with a Lockean vision of the Social Contract. The Social Contract is out of fashion these days, but basically it’s the idea that we enter into society with the agreement that out of a set of Natural Rights (Life, Liberty, Property [the last one being debatable past the scope of my meager commentary]) we surrender some of our freedoms to the government for the purposes of the general protection and maximization of the remainder of the rights that we enjoy. Thus, society exists to protect rights, not unnecessarily curtail them. In fact, the abridgement of freedom should only happen when the aforementioned compelling societal cause is needed. Second, I’m basically an ends-based thinker in my political philosophy (utility). For me, most decisions should be made based on the benefit to society of the chosen policy, weighed against alternatives. Given this general framework of political philosophy, issues tend to resolve themselves without my having to rely on my knee jerk reaction to events. Let me use an inflammatory issue to demonstrate the product of my philosophy: drug legalization.

Opponents of legalization say that drugs should remain illegal because of the harm to individuals, the harm to families, and the crime associated with addicts. However, it’s my position that society shouldn’t use its police power to save people from themselves. Drug addicts have a medical problem that adding legal issues on top of it is piling on. The crime associated with the War on Drugs is a self fulfilling prophecy. Not one shred of evidence suggests that the WOD has been even slightly successful in curtailing supply or demand. Moreover, populating our prisons with small time users does not ameliorate the harm to families done by drug use. In fact, it’s far more difficult to solve problems behind bars. Legalize, regulate, tax the stuff, and if the problems don’t entirely go away, at least there is a revenue base to pay for dealing with it. This commentary (link found on wood_s lot) on the recent Supreme Court ruling about medicinal marijuana makes a good point; by the Supreme Court’s reasoning, it would be very difficult to have the ruling in Griswold v. Connecticut repeated in today’s court. Griswold, for those not familiar with SC cases by name, is the case that ruled that because of our right to privacy, the government has no compelling interest in banning contraceptive use. If only the right to privacy was something that a majority of our high court justices even believed in.

If someone sends me a list of political issues, I’ll apply my philosophy to each of those issues to see how it applies.
Stupid links that amused me

As part of my never ending quest to keep up with the First Daughters, I have the duty to point you to the fact that Jenna and Barbara got busted again for use of a fake ID.

Apparently online love columnists are recommending picking up ladies at New Age events. (from FMH)

Update: the New York Times is beginning to note the depopulation of the Great Plains. I’ve been very much in favor of tearing down the fences, reintroducing large herds of bison, and letting the Plains revert back to a natural ecosystem ever since Jeff and I ran a debate case in college to create a Buffalo Commons. More background can be found here. First link from Randomwalks.

Finally, from the Onion: is there more to life than just traveling around and meeting interesting people? Or should we just sit around and play Donkey Kong 64?

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