DownsizeDC.org
October 4, 2009
Whose Body Is It?
By James Wilson

We received some negative feedback to our most recent Drug War Dispatch.

Yet, no one would admit that the Drug War is successful. No one claimed the Drug War has lowered drug availablility, drug use, or drug addiction.

Instead, what the critics fear is that ending drug prohibition would lead to more use and addiction.

That might happen. It's also possible that drug use would . . . 

  • Spike briefly but then fall back to historical levels
  • Decrease

After all, drugs will be in the pharmacy and off the streets and school grounds. Pushers won't be giving out free samples to hook people.

Overall, we believe any possible increase in self-harm (addiction) will be more than offset by the reduction of harm to the innocent. And there will be more resources to treat addicts who seek help.   

In any case, this concern boils down to fearing the consequences of individual freedom.

If we feared individual freedom, DownsizeDC.org might as well close shop.

Individuals should be responsible for their actions. If their actions cause harm, or violate the rights of others, they should be held to account in civil or criminal courts. If their self-harm, such as addiction, leads them to commit crimes, acts of negligence, or to break contracts, they should likewise be held accountable.

If there are public-nuisance problems associated with drug use or other activities, they could be addressed at the state or local levels.

But when government tries to prevent negative outcomes by restricting freedom, what we get is more negative outcomes, not fewer. The Drug War epitomizes this reality.

The purpose of our campaigns is to leave each individual with more resources, more discretion, and more control over his or her life. We believe greater individual freedom will lead not only to greater human progress, but is inherently more just.

For instance, we believe it is unjust for the government to deny a person the right to make decisions regarding his or her own health. This includes the choice of the medical professionals he or she chooses, the types of treatments and medications he or she chooses, and the prices he or she is willing to pay.

It would be unjust for the government to prohibit a certain treatment you want, or to force you to pay for an insurance plan you don't want. This is why we demand consumer-controlled health care.

Your body belongs to you. It doesn't belong to your doctor, or an insurance company, or the government.

Even if you make bad decisions with it, your body still belongs to you.

Even if lots of people make bad decisions, such as taking up smoking, their bodies belong to themselves. They don't "owe" the government longer life or greater productivity from not smoking.

Likewise, it is not the government's business to prohibit the food you want to eat, the beverages you choose to drink, or what drugs you might want to take. This is important . . .

  • Some now-illegal drugs, and not just marijuana, may provide relief for pain or psychiatric disorders.
  • Since the drugs are illegal NO ONE can benefit from these potential uses
  • And there is no legal recourse for the victims of tainted, impure, black-market doses

If the drugs were legal, doctors, pharmacists and consenting patients would be free to experiment with them in a controlled way. Respected businesses would develop consistent batches, and fewer people (the very people drug prohibition claims to help!) would be harmed by impure, black-market substances.

There simply is NO line that can be drawn between health freedom and drug freedom. The federal government has no authority over our bodies. We should be more concerned about those who are victimized by the loss of freedom than with those who choose to abuse themselves.

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