Christianity and Libertarianism and the Consent of the Governed

Originally Posted here by Laigle’s contributor Anthony Horvath


“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed Declaration of Independence


The last few months I’ve seen some strident statements of opposition against libertarians by conservatives. I’m on several email lists where I’m seeing such commentary and of course its on the web, as in this example. I personally didn’t detect a huge uptick in libertarian sentiment, but alright. I describe myself as a ‘constitutional libertarian’ and in explaining why I hope that I can shed light on what I believe are the true reasons for a rise in libertarianism- among Christians in particular. I can’t speak for them all, of course, but I think I recognize in some of their commentary some of my own thinking.

So, to begin with, let me make two important observations. First of all, when one thinks ‘libertarian’ one might immediately think licentious. However, the two are not identical terms. This leads to the second observation, the direction by which one arrives at libertarianism greatly impacts the flavor of that libertarianism. There can be no question that there are a great mass of individuals, who calling themselves libertarians, really are just people who wish to engage in whatever depravity that they want, with no one to tell them otherwise or worse- stop them. By my observation, the people coming from this direction are really your typical atheist secular humanist progressive who is perfectly happy to foist as much government as people can bear onto themselves and others- in the form of nationalized health care, eg- just so long as they can have sex with whatever and whomever they want and smoke whatever happens to come across their path.

However, someone coming at ‘libertarianism’ from the other direction, say, from a Christian perspective and a conservative, is not looking for a reason to misbehave. This is why I led off with the John Adams quote. ‘Moral and religious people’ will continue to be ‘moral and religious’ whatever freedoms or restrictions are placed on them by the government. I might say: “Libertarianism was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the [government] of any other.” There are any number of forms of government that can work with a ‘moral and religious people.’ For an amoral or immoral or anti-moral or non-religious or anti-religious people, no kind of government is going to work for the long haul. Continue reading

EU failing on all fronts

by Don Hank

If the latest report by Debkafile is true, then the Libyan war is unofficially over, Obama has made Russia the peacemaker, and NATO has ended its air strikes. A reasonable layperson’s analysis of this report might be this:

The EU has overextended itself politically, economically and militarily.

1–Politically: It has always been a de facto dictatorship. It was originally touted as a strictly economic scheme and the trusting nations of Europe bought it on that basis. Then, surprise, it started adding massive bureaucratic trappings, mostly of a political nature — a court of justice, a Constitution, a Parliament, a Commission, a ministry of foreign affairs, etc, whose functions went far beyond the economic realm and into the everyday lives of every European. Result: It now looks a lot like an empire, but without the usual sense of nationhood that has typically supported empires in the past.

No one loves the European flag. Yet, oblivious to the fact that people can be controlled indefinitely only if they love their nation or have some traditional loyalties to it, the EU has threatened UK groups who refuse to fly the EU flag on Europe Day.

They have also made and enforced laws favoring the Muslim minority but discriminating against the Christian majority.

Because of its strong-arm tactics and its contempt for the people the EU pretends to rule, euroskeptics are gathering strength everywhere and the popularity of the European central government is on the wane. UK citizens in a recent poll have said they want out. The analogies with the USSR are too numerous to mention.

2–Economically: The EU started pushing for an end to national currencies. For example, it pushed aside the Deutschmark, which if left intact today, would easily outperform the euro. Then it started taking from the rich nations to give to the poor nations. Keen observers knew, for example, that Greece was not really eligible to join ranks with richer nations with a more mature sense of fiscal responsibility. But the motive was not to have peers join together in common cause but rather to redistribute the wealth Marxian style. Most were deceived into believing the “communism is dead” narrative and couldn’t quite grasp that Marx’s wealth redistribution scheme doesn’t have to apply only to individuals or groups within nations. It can — and did — apply on a nation-to-nation level. The EU Comrades gave “to each [nation] according to its need” without concern for the corollary: “from each according to its ability.” Italy is the latest domino to have fallen in a cascading collapse and there is no one left to bail it out.

3–Militarily: The EU joined forces with the UN and the US to oust stable leaders in the Middle East and replace them with whoever screamed the loudest, destroyed more property and burned more tires. De facto, parading as “democracy” or “freedom,” it was a veritable blood bath for Christians.  The Assyrian Christians were forced to flee Iraq. The Copts are fleeing Egypt. 1000 Christians were slaughtered in the Ivory Coast in an area under UN control. And so on. The last nation they attacked, Libya, resisted, and now they — and their US partners — are out of options.

If he wanted to, the layperson might also point out, as an aside, that the EU is failing on the propaganda front as well.

The EU was the biggest donor to the Climatic Research Centre of the University of East Anglia, which was purportedly charged with compiling and analyzing world climate data over the decades, but de facto, knew that its real job was to prop up the “global warming” narrative to support the policies of the EU and most Western national governments. A group of hackers revealed this real mission to the world.

The latest propaganda effort is a worldwide campaign to foist the EU’s latest scheme to legalize drugs on an unsuspecting world, based on a report originally issued by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, purportedly showing that Portugal’s decriminalization experiment is a “resounding success” in reducing drug use in that country. The EMCDDA is wholly owned and operated by the EU. Like the global warming “research,” this report is also unraveling, thanks to the efforts of a valiant group of Portuguese doctors who have shown that drug use is actually on the increase in their country. (See the last 7 reports at Laigle’s Forum).

On the whole, the sum total of the EU’s efforts has amounted to a stinging defeat on all fronts.

Economically, militarily and politically — not to mention propaganda-wise — the EU looks to be headed for the dust bin of history.

Decriminalization of drugs in Portugal

Decriminalization of drugs in Portugal

by Manuel Pinto Coelho 

I have seen the national, and particularly the foreign, press trumpet with strange insistence, on the eve of electoral processes in Portugal, the “resounding success” of the decriminalization of drugs initiated in 2001 by the Socialist government, — ignored by all other European countries and to the detriment of the guidelines and conventions of the United Nations to which the country is a signatory.

Respect for the true facts obliges the Association for a Drug-Free Portugal (APLD) to inform the Portuguese of the true consequences of implementing the current policy, independently of party affiliations. Portugal adopted a rather original and undoubtedly questionable solution (?) for managing the scourge of drugs.

The recent articles of the British weekly The Economist and of the Cato Institute in Washington promoted the governmental options. It is a legitimate, perhaps politically correct right. The problem is the rest: the vexing manipulation of the facts and the figures is unacceptable.

1 – [reportedly] In Portugal in 2006, the total number of deaths from overdose did not increase radically relative to 2000 and the percentage of drug addicts with AIDS decreased (from 57% to 43%). Exactly the opposite happened. We are witnessing a worrisome deterioration of the situation. The facts demonstrate this: “with 219 deaths by overdose per year, Portugal has one of the worst outcomes, with one death every two days. Like Greece, Austria and Finland, it is one of the countries registering an increase of more than 30% in 2005,” and “Portugal continues to be a country with the highest incidence of AIDS related to the consumption of injected drugs (85 new cases per million inhabitants in 2005, when the majority do not exceed five cases) and the only one that registered a recent increase, with 36 new cases estimated per million inhabitants in 2005, when in 2004 there were only 30” (European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction–EMCDDA, 2007). Further, according to the European report, Portugal registered 703 new cases of infection in 2006, corresponding to a rate eight times higher than the European average!

2 — The decriminalization of drugs in Portugal in no way reduced the levels of consumption, on the contrary. In reality, “consumption in Portugal increased 4.2% — the percentage of persons who took drugs at any time in their life rose from 7.8% in 2001 to 12% in 2007 (IDT – Instituto de Droga e da Toxicodependencia / Institute of Drugs and Drug Addiction, 2008).

3 – As for cocaine use, “the new data (found for 2005-2007) confirm the growing tendency registered last year in France, Ireland, Spain, United Kingdom, Italy, Denmark and Portugal” (EMCDDA, 2008). As for the rate of cocaine and amphetamine use, these doubled in Portugal; the confiscations of the latter drug increased seven times between 2001 and 2006, the sixth highest in the world (WDR — World Drug Report, 2009).

4 — with regard to hashish: — “it is difficult to evaluate the intensive consumption trends for cannabis in Europe, but among the countries that participated in both studies in the field, between 2004 and 2007 (France, Spain, Ireland, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal), there was a mean increase of about 20%” (EMCDDA, 2008).

5 — in Portugal, since decriminalization was implemented, the number of drug-related homicides increased 40%. “It was the only country in Europe to show a significant increase in homicides between 2001 and 2006 (WDR, 2009).

6 — a recent study sponsored by the IDT to the Centre for Opinion Research and Surveys (CESOP) of the Catholic University of Portugal, based on direct interviews on the attitudes of Portuguese relating to drug addiction (which strangely, was never published), reveals that 83.7% of the respondents consider that the number drug addicts in Portugal increased over the last four years, 66.8% consider that accessibility of drugs in their neighborhoods was easy or very easy, and 77.3% said that drug-related crime had increased (“Toxicodependencias” No. 3, 2007).

This is the pungent Portuguese reality with relation to drugs and drug addiction.

For the Portuguese government, drug addicts are seen essentially as sick people. It is an inexpensive and suicidal attitude for the public treasury. They pretend to be sick and the government pretends to treat them!

Decriminalization of use, possession and acquisition for use means penalization only when another crime is added to the charge of consumption, which almost always has a mitigating effect. Legalizing the crime committed by “drugged” persons (or by “sick people” – sic) does not seem to be the most efficient way to combat crime, as witnessed by the exceptional rate of drug-related homicides compared to other European countries. Facilitating access to the drug will not be the way to reduce consumption or reduce drug addiction and associated criminality.

It is really curious what is happening in Portugal: drug addicts, with the tacit support of the government, invoke their status as “sick people” in order not to be punished for their crimes but then forget that they are “sick” and pose as free responsible persons who decide whether or not to be treated!

To deem the drug addict a sick person and not a criminal, by the route of decriminalization, the state cannot opt to feed the “sickness” instead of curing it, through a policy that prioritizes “harm reduction”!

Resounding success? The results are right in front of your nose!

 Translated by Don Hank

Manuel Pinto Colho, President of the APLD (Association for a Drug-Free Portugal)

Original Portuguese language article:

http://www.joaodefreitas.com.br/descriminalizacao-das-drogas-portugal.htm

My email to the Cato Institute re. Cato study on “Portugal model”

The following email went out to several Cato Institute fellows and other associates at these addresses:
The first 4 are listed as experts in either medicine or insurance. I figured they would be interested in what the medical doctors in Portugal are saying about the Cato study purporting to show how decriminalizing drugs is reducing drug use. I will let readers know whether these Cato reps have responded and what they say in their own defense, if anything.
I also sent a brief email to Cato at their generic address for reader comments, providing a link to my article including a full translation of the MDs’ web site debunking the Cato study.
 
 
Here is my email:
 
 
Dear Cato Institute representative,
My own newsletter Laigle’s Forum is friendly to libertarian ideas on economics. Indeed, we were the first in the Anglo-Saxon world to publish a translation of a commentary by Vincent Bénard, President of the Hayek Institute in Brussels.
I learned of the “Portuguese model” for combatting drug use by reading an article on it on Mises Daily, to which I subscribe. You will forgive me for saying this, but something did not smell right about the “resoundingly successful” portrayal and the undisguised exuberance of your report.
I did some intensive investigation and indeed uncovered a major problem with this model.
Let me point out that first, libertarians had held up the “Dutch model” to prove their counterintuitive hypothesis that decriminalizing narcotics use actually reduces narcotic use. It turned out not to be true. When the Dutch themselves backed away, the libertarians were forced to do likewise. The exit strategy was the mantra “Holland never legalized drugs.”
Shortly thereafter, the Portuguese government issued amazing statistics demonstrating what the Dutch model was supposed to demonstrate.
Cato apparently forwarded the report to the world without much further-reaching investigation, whereupon others imitated. Scientific American followed suit, greatly boosting the credibility of your narrative.
As a technical translator, however, I am accustomed to doing online searches in various languages to verify facts and findings. I realized that there may well be some research in Portugal that discredited the “Portuguese model” and did an online search in Portuguese.
Indeed, I found, to my surprise, that medical doctors in Portugal consider the government report ‘pure disinformation.’
I am writing you to alert you to this because eventually you will be confronted by the statistics published by these doctors on their web site.
Here is my account of that, which I believe may be the first of its kind directed toward the Anglo-Saxon world:
I have seen that political groups often enthusiastically seize upon statistics like the Portuguese government’s in an effort to support their platform or ideology, and yours is no exception. There is, of course, an obvious risk inherent in this practice, and I am afraid this lack of caution may become an albatross for Cato. My report went out to my list of several thousand policy makers and activists around the world.
Nonetheless, I think you deserve a chance to respond to this rather serious disclosure and would be very happy to publish your response to this.
You may email me at the above address.
Best Regards,
Don Hank
[END OF EMAIL]
PS: A friend recently said the CIA was the biggest drug runner in the world. It gave me pause. I don’t swallow stories like that easily. But yet, putting 2 and 2 together, it is obvious the US and the Western powers in general do not want to stop or slow the drug flow into their nations.
Here is a news item that strongly supports this and shows the depths of depravity into which we have fallen:

Moral Keynesianism and the war on drugs

The government is waging a war on you, not on drugs

Don Hank

First, if you have an opinion on the legalization of narcotics, let us know at the link below (but please make sure you have read the associated articles on this, and note in particular the article — the first in the Anglo-Saxon world — showing that the “Portuguese model” is based on false reports):

http://laiglesforum.com/ideology-bound-libertarians-look-a-lot-like-leftists/2620.htm

I have not ever seen this much passion, on both sides of an issue, as I am seeing at this site. I want to thank those who participated or will participate. Note: If you are new to the forum, your post will take time for approval (I am not here all the time). Please check back later.

Let me try to sum up my position:

My main thrust is not so much whether we “have a right to do with my body as I please.” That is just too adolescent for me. Sorry.

My position is independent of whether we are winning or losing the “war on drugs.”

My position is that the Left is planning another sneak attack on the West, just as it did in the 60s when it sold us the sexual revolution. As some will recall, the whole “revolution” seemed like a grass roots movement. It was planned to seem that way. But it came off the Left’s drawing board. The Frankfurt school specialized in “education” (read: social Marxist propaganda) was heavily invested in that movement, famously promulgating the slogan “make love, not war.”

The method was Fabian stealth, and if you have investigated the origins of the Fabian Society in London, in the 1880s, you will recall that there was an essentially two-pronged assault:

1— Destroy the Christian roots of the West (that’s been accomplished)

2— Subtly program people to accept Marxian socialism, or in other words, communism (that is right around the corner. Even euroskeptics as a group are not necessarily inclined to oppose socialism as long as it is a national kind. Where have we heard of that before? Oh, yes, Nationalsozialismus. I had almost forgotten).

Then there were academic reports and news items and editorials hyping what amounted to a moral breakdown. Today there are stories like the wholly contrived report of the “successful” Portuguese model as reported by the Cato Institute and later in Scientific American, but debunked by the Portuguese doctors.

Let me suggest that what we are now accepting if we accept legalization of narcotics is in effect a kind of “moral Keynesianism.” Now Keynesianism is the economic teaching that the economy needs government to thrive and, more specifically, needs governments to do things that are counterintuitive and contrary to common sense and logic, such as “stimulating” the economy by spending tax payer money on projects, whether necessary ones or not (John Maynard Keynes once famously stated that if workers were hired by the government to dig ditches and then fill them up again, that would stimulate the economy. That one statement encapsulates all we need to know about this “scholar”).

This idea was tried by FDR, and historians at the time failed to note that it was not the “stimulus” (in the form of war spending) that got us out of the Great Depression but rather a robust and resilient essentially free economic system and strong moral fabric along with a strong manufacturing base thanks to a still-dormant China and finally, a very limited entitlement system. Calculations by a group of UCLA economists show that, far from “getting us out of the depression,” FDR actually slowed the recovery by about 7 years.

So, long story short, Keynesianism is harmful to economies. That is bad news for us today because most US presidents of both parties, and most famously Obama and Bush (who promoted TARP and the bank bailouts), have operated on the premise that shoveling enormous amounts of public money into the economy speeds recovery and is generally beneficial to everyone. European “leaders” did likewise, despite the total lack of evidence that such Keyenesian policies help and the strong evidence (not to mention common sense and logic) showing they are harmful.

In its broadest sense, Keynesianism is a teaching analogous to the old expression “a little hair of the dog that bit you.” This is the belief held by hard drinkers and alcoholics that consuming a little alcohol the morning after will cure your hangover. It is merely an excuse to follow your compulsion to harm your body even more because you don’t have the self discipline to stop. In other words, it is the counterintuitive degradation of any system (body, economy, etc) in the hope of deriving benefit from this degradation.

So in fact, Keynesianism goes far beyond economics and has seeped into our psyche in every area vital to life and to a healthy society. This is because Keynesianism as an academic teaching was only the effect, not the cause, of this widespread belief in doing the wrong thing to achieve a benefit. Moral bankruptcy does not need Keynesianism to proceed. Keynesianism is only a catalyst that speeds the reaction. Not surprisingly, John Maynard Keynes was himself a drug user (BTW, I am not the first to liken Keyenesianism to drug addiction. It’s been done here).

The notion that legalizing drugs will somehow help reduce drug use belongs in the category of moral Keyenesianism.  As I have shown here and  here, while libertarians and the Left present reports of drug models based on legalization (first Holland, and then when that went sour, Portugal) purporting to show legalization of narcotics as beneficial, the reports are patently false – analogously to historical treatises purporting to show that FDR “got us out” of the Great Depression.

Now, let me clarify my position on the War on Drugs.

This is a patently phony war and, like all conflicts in which the US has been involved since WW II, the government does not sincerely intend to win it.

This is as plain as the nose on your face. How in heaven’s name could any nation hope to stop the sale and use of narcotics by keeping open the border with the country through which the lion’s share of these drugs pass into ours? Despite the hype, we have not sincerely tried to close the border. Quite the opposite. While hypocritically condemning the cartels, the US government has in fact opened the doors to them and their product. As reported by Fox News, there are no less than 5 federal lands at the Mexican border that have travel warnings in place to alert travelers of possible violence. From that report:

Dennis Godfrey, a spokesman for the Bureau of Land Management’s Arizona office, said roughly a dozen signs were posted earlier this month along the Sonoran Desert National Monument advising that travel in the area is not recommended due to “active drug and human” smuggling.

It should be abundantly clear that the US government, which so far has not hesitated to spend well over $1 trillion on wars that have failed their mission of bringing lasting peace or democracy to the Middle East, refuses to spend even a fraction of that to build adequate fencing and hire enough border patrol agents and/or national guard personnel to stop the flow of drugs.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please read this carefully:

The US government does not want to stop or slow the flow of drugs into the US. Most lawmakers and presidents (all of them) only want to make a show, do a bare minimum in an effort to placate constituencies.

They are thumbing their noses at their constituents while catering to the corrupt Mexican government and the cartels, which are their main clients in this illegal and immoral enterprise.

And now that their failure is manifest, they are subtly suggesting that, instead of doing the rational thing and closing the border, we need to legalize drugs, thereby expanding the market for their friends, these vicious killers selling a dangerous product that destroys our people and our children.

Here comes the avalanche. Open your eyes before it is too late. Don’t let them flatter you into the thought that legalization was your idea. It most certainly was not.

Finally, for my European readers:

Do you really believe the EU or any European nation wants to stop the flow of drugs into your region? Here in Latin America, it is common knowledge that Spain and Portugal are the portals for drug traffic in Europe. I believe that your airports have so far been successful in preventing terrorist attacks. How is it possible that they are not also stopping the flow of drugs into your country? Here is something to ponder: Portugal is not only a major drug flow artery into Europe, it is also the only nation to have legalized narcotic use. Is there a possible connection here that ought to be explored? That is, if Portugal is winking at drug use, then it may have been winking for many years at drug smugglers passing through their airports. Just a little food for thought.

Again, if you have an opinion on the legalization of narcotics, let us know here:

http://laiglesforum.com/ideology-bound-libertarians-look-a-lot-like-leftists/2620.htm

Arguments in favor of drug legalization and analysis of them

The following are some of the main arguments in favor of drug legalization and/or decriminalization, followed by my debunking:

1–The fact that narcotic drug decriminalization has been tried successfully in Portugal is proof that this works.

That’s what you once said about Holland. Remember the story of the boy who cried ‘wolf.’ It was successful only according to the Portuguese government, which had been responsible for the ill-advised decriminalizing in the first place, and according to the Cato Institute, which has a vested interest in believing the experiment was successful and in promulgating the myth that it was. As for Scientific American, which swallowed it whole and then regurgitated it upon their pages, they will have to answer for themselves someday.

According to the doctors in Portugal, the government story is ‘pure disinformation.’

2—No one is advocating decriminalization of narcotic drugs, just the sale of drugs.

Pardon me, but if it is not harmful to let people take any drug they please, then it is not morally wrong to sell these drugs either. So why the hypocrisy?

There is only one reason for prosecuting dealers: The advocates of drug legalization know full well that decriminalization is not good for society. If it is wrong to sell drugs it is wrong to use them.

3—Libertarian groups all agree that taking drugs is a “right.” They can misquote von Mises and Friedman to sort of support this.

But since neither of these early libertarians or adopted libertarians (like Friedman) ever lived in a society where drugs were legal (because no society in the world allowed the sale and use of hard narcotics), any intellectual support they may have had for drug legalization was purely hypothetical and not provable. So, lacking the proof that drug decriminalization is not a net negative for society, it is clear that many who advocate decriminalization or legalization of narcotics (most being libertarian or ‘progressive’) are simply bowing to what they consider “authorities” or hewing to the libertarian or progressive party line. But since the “authorities” have not used the scientific method (analysis of hard evidence) to prove the soundness of their hypotheses, and in fact, since the Dutch and Portuguese experiments failed to pan out (as I have shown, despite worldwide hype), it is a question of the blind leading the blind.

4—When the Dutch experiment with legalization of narcotics in coffee houses failed, the pro-legalization crowd quickly declared “Holland never legalized drugs.”

This was disingenuous. Firstly, the Portuguese never legalized them either in the strict sense. They merely decriminalized their use, while maintaining stiff penalties for dealers. Secondly, the Dutch had certainly stopped enforcing drug laws to the extent that specially licensed coffee houses could allow open soft narcotic use on their premises – resulting in “drug tourism.” The reason legalization advocates suddenly backed off of Holland as a model was because the Dutch themselves backed off, seeing the abject failure of their model. They began to see “drug tourism” as an albatross, for example, and started to discourage it. They also started to see kids selling drugs in the schools, to an alarming degree.

One web site, operated by Schoolguard, a group of Dutch activists for safer schools, recently reports:

“According to researchers, drug use is on the increase. They find that 39% of 17 year olds have tried cannabis (hash or weed) at least once, and 9% have tried hard drugs once.

….

In 89% of secondary schools, drugs are sold by students. In virtually all secondary schools, you can find hash. Further, ecstasy can be had in 61% of schools, cocaine in 40% and speed in 19%.” [my translation]

It was reports like these that spoiled the Dutch model for the libertarians and leftist or faux conservative legalization advocates. This forced them to look for a new model while trashing the old model by suddenly claiming, in retrospect, that the Dutch “never legalized drugs.” Remember that bona fide information about the Dutch experiment was initially hard to find in the Anglo press because of the language barrier.  However, I did publish an eye-opening report a while back based on my translation of a Dutch article. My blog on this went to hundreds of policy makers and journalists. Once the truth came out, it was hard for legalization advocates to maintain the facade. I believe the dissemination of such information in the media is the main reason legalization advocates switched to Portugal, a nation that also speaks an obscure enough language to keep the world in the dark long enough to achieve political inroads to legalization.

Here again, as before, I intend to be a spoiler.

It needs to be noted that while the Mises Institute article touts the ‘resounding success’ of the Portuguese model, it also admits that the “success” (consisting mainly of a reported higher survival rate among hard drug users) is due in part to government programs through which addicts can acquire free needles and surrogate drugs. This is hypocritical when you consider that the Von Mises Institute elsewhere renounces all government intervention in social affairs. Yet here, it supports what amounts to a Big Government approach. Obviously, drug legalization is more important than their free market ideological underpinnings.

The picture that emerges here is that, despite its emphasis on the “free market,” libertarianism is probably no better for the West than is progressivism, communism or any of the other zippy-sounding isms.

The bombastic libertarian claim that drug legalization will help solve our economic problems, as will open borders and amnesty, is smoke and mirrors obscuring the fact that drugs – not the enforcement of drug laws – and open borders/amnesty – not immigration enforcement – are some of the main causes of our current economic malaise.

Ironically, there is one very promising solution to these two problems, and it is the one most maligned by libertarians and ‘progressives’ alike, namely, closing the border and banishing illegal-alien criminals (including as many illegal entrants as can be caught — of course, we can’t catch them all. Who said we could?) to their homelands following incarceration (I had shown here that, incredibly, released illegal-alien felons are in fact given government assistance with the acquisition of green cards. Any fool can see why we have a drug smuggling problem, and any fool can see how easily it could be stopped if our government wanted it stopped).

If we stopped meddling in the affairs of Middle Easterners in a way that promotes terror (as I have shown for all but the hardiest of deniers here, here, here and here), we could bring home our ill-stationed troops serving the political purposes of a usurper in a war effort with no constitutional basis whatsoever, and send many of them to the border states, armed as they are now, and specially trained, and entrust them with the safeguarding of our borders.

In so doing, we could immediately:

1-significantly bolster our flagging economy

2-almost completely stop the flow of drugs into our country

3-greatly reduce the need to fight terror, by ending our indirect support for terror in the Middle East, and simultaneously, by keeping out non-Mexican aliens at the border.

People have a bad habit of letting their ideology trump their common sense, intuition and observational skills. Even conservatives like me can be guilty of this at times.

But the Mises article proudly reports that Rep. Ron Paul, a medical doctor with decidedly libertarian views, is in favor of legalizing narcotics and wants to join Barney Frank in drafting such a law.

If libertarians can ever manage to get down off their sacrosanct ivory towers and humbly look at real world facts, they may eventually be able to gain our confidence again.

But most representatives of the movement, like Mark Thornton and Ron Paul, to name but a few, have a long way to go and it’s all uphill.

Von Mises and Rand for open borders:

http://mises.org/journals/jls/22_1/22_1_3.pdf

Milton Friedman: “You cannot simultaneously have free immigration and a welfare state.”

http://libertyorbondage.com/?page_id=91

LP is for open borders, amnesty:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_perspectives_on_immigration

Ron Paul has changed on immigration

http://www.ontheissues.org/tx/Ron_Paul_Immigration.htm

More proof of higher drug use in Portugal

 

Don Hank

 

In the previous article, one of my readers questioned the translated excerpt from the article in the Portuguese medical journal Saude. He pointed out that when drugs are first legalized, people who once were afraid to report their drug use were emboldened enough to admit it and this was a factor that skewed the statistics, making it look as if drug use had increased when in fact it had not.

He was sure that if I translated the rest, he would be able to deduce such a skewing from the rest of the article.

This challenged me to translate the rest in case others may have had the same suspicion. As you can see from the translation below, however, there are considerable data on increased drug related mortalities, which are not dependent on subjective reporting by the drug users themselves. The significant increase in drug-related homicides is also independent of reports by the users themselves.

Therefore, at least for these data, we can pretty much discount the above-mentioned skewing factor.

The long time – about 6 years – from the time of decriminalization to the end of the study also militates against such an explanation.

My full translation of the Saude article is found here:

http://laiglesforum.com/further-proof-of-higher-drug-use-since-decriminalization-in-portugal/2612.htm

Ideology bound libertarians look a lot like leftists

Ideology-bound Libertarians look suspiciously like leftists

 

Don Hank

 

Mark Thornton, writing for the libertarian Mises Daily, points out that “drug reform” is a hot issue. By drug reform, he means decriminalization or legalization of drug use.

He writes:

“Political candidates, politicians, former presidents, interest groups, and even the Global Commission on Drug Policy are all calling for drug-policy reform”

He rhetorically asks “why the interest in this reform?” and then answers his own question:

“…. the more important reason for the interest in this issue is economic sense. Drug prohibition is a burden on taxpayers. It is a burden on government budgets. It is a burden on the criminal-justice system. It is a burden on the healthcare system. The economic crisis has intensified the pain from all these burdens. Legalization reduces or eliminates all of these burdens. It should be no surprise that alcohol prohibition was repealed at the deepest depths of the Great Depression.”

 

Mark is as wrong as he can be. Firstly, alcohol does not pose the same problems as addictive narcotics and is not comparable. Secondly, drug prohibition is not the burden. Illegal drug sales and use, and the cartels that commit the crime of selling illegal drugs, are a burden — a burden that is exacerbated by an administration that refuses to stop smugglers. Mark is blaming the victims for the crime. Thirdly, he is relying on false figures released by an incompetent Portuguese government trying to cover up a flawed policy.

The economic burden he mentions is intensified exponentially by our open borders policy and tolerance of illegal immigration. Thousands of Mexicans are now crossing the border into the US with huge shipments of narcotics in vehicles, as shown here, or bales of marijuana strapped to their backs, as shown here.

Yet this same Mark Thornton who advocates legalizing illegal drugs precisely on economic grounds, also criticizes those of us who want to keep illegal aliens out and keep the borders closed for economic reasons – i.e., to protect American jobs in a time of record unemployment. Thus, through convoluted logic worthy of a mental contortionist, he wants us to believe that two of the main contributors to the Western economic malaise are in fact beneficial.

He is right when he states that one main problem with immigration is government largesse extended to them. But it is unrealistic to advocate for illegal immigrants at a time when our welfare state has never been more generous with your money and when jobs have never been more scarce. According to Milton Friedman, whom libertarians like to consider one of their own when such is convenient, “You cannot simultaneously have free immigration and a welfare state.”

In a perfect world, we could open the borders and legalize drugs without fear because no one would use drugs to the extent of causing anyone harm, and immigrants would not be lured by free schools and hospitals and other social assistance but rather by a drive to earn money honestly by the sweat of their brow.

But we don’t have that world – quite the opposite. So why talk about hypothetical policies that might word in a utopia that simply will never be?

But Mark is worse than just a Polyanna. He is either disingenuous or self-deceived when he refers to the Cato report showing that Portugal’s “success” with their drug decriminalization experiment. The fact that it was the libertarian Cato Institute that released the report should raise a red flag because their clientele all support drug legalization/decriminalization and have already bought into the highly suspect hypothesis that drug liberalization will automatically redound to everyone’s good. They should also raise an eyebrow at the thought that it was the nearly bankrupt Portuguese government that released the fishy-sounding facts on which it rests – a government that has a vested (financial) interest in wanting the world to believe in it now that the risk rating agencies no longer do.

This was my line of reasoning when I set about doing an online search for a web site in Portugal that would shed some light on this. Now not every American can search the foreign press in a variety of languages, and this language barrier is one of the setbacks for US scholars and journalists. But because of my translation background, non-English foreign reports are one of my specialites and a good reason to visit Laigle’s Forum, where language is not a barrier to accessing truth.

What I found in my Portuguese-language search (I would never have found it in English) went beyond my wildest dreams, and I published a preliminary article on it here.

Some of the main arguments in favor of drug legalization and/or decriminalization, followed by my analysis thereof, are found here:

http://laiglesforum.com/2634/2634.htm

Further proof of higher drug use since decriminalization in Portugal

More proof of higher drug use in Portugal

 

Don Hank 

In the previous article, one of my readers questioned the translated excerpt from the article by Manuel Pinto Coelho in the Portuguese medical journal Saude. He pointed out that when drugs are first legalized, people who once were afraid to report their drug use were emboldened enough to admit it and this was a factor that skewed the statistics, making it look as if drug use had increased when in fact it had not.

He said he was sure that if I translated the rest, he would be able to deduce such a skewing from the rest of the article.

This challenged me to translate the rest in case others may have had the same suspicion.

As you can see from the translation below, however, there are considerable data on increased drug related mortalities, which are not dependent on subjective reporting by the drug users themselves, since the drugs would have been detected at autopsy. The significant increase in drug-related homicides is also independent of reports by the users themselves.

Therefore, at least for these data, we can pretty much discount the above-mentioned skewing factor.

The long time – about 6 years – from the time of decriminalization to the end of the study also militates against such an explanation because there would have been ample time for the skew to be offset. And further, there seems to have been a steady increase over time, not a spike the year after decriminalization as one might expect if the above-described hypothesis were true.

Finally, it is astonishing to note that, despite the government’s offering of clean needles and the fact that it did not arrest any drug users, Portugal’s rate of mortalities from HIV/AIDS among drug users was the highest in all of Europe! How this is supposed to be compatible with the verdict “resounding success in all metrics,” as reported by Cato and then repeated by Scientific American, is absolutely baffling.

Yet it makes sense if you consider that non-enforcement would certainly encourage some people to take drugs who would otherwise not have fallen into the vice for fear of arrest and jail. In fact, the government’s laissez-faire policy certainly must have led some to think hard drugs were not as harmful as was once thought. Otherwise, why would my government allow me to use them?

So while these findings are not consistent in any way with the reports bruited to the world, they are indeed consistent with logic and common sense.

My complete translation is as follows:

Heroine consumption rose 57.5% in recent years

Model for combating drugs is ‘pure disinformation’ – APLD President

At variance with what official agencies have recently disclosed, the problem of drug dependence in Portugal has never been more serious: Between 2001, the year the decriminalization law went into effect, and 2007, continued consumption of narcotics rose, in absolute terms, by 66%.  

In this period, consumption increased 215% for cocaine, 85% for ecstasy, 57.5%  for heroine and 37% for cannabis.. These data are from a report of the Institute of Drugs and Drug Dependence (IDT), published in 2008.

Since decriminalization there has been a 50% increase in drug use among young people between the ages of 20 and 24. On the other hand, the number of persons who have experimented with illicit drugs at least once rose from 7.8% in 2001 to 12% in 2007 (IDT Report of Activities of Nov 2008).

The highest mortality rates due to HIV/AIDS among drug users were reported by Portugal, followed by Estonia, Spain, Latvia and Italy.

The number of deaths testing positively for drugs (314) at the Portuguese Institute of Forensic Medicine in 2007, showed a 45% increase, an enormous rise over 2006 (216). This represents the highest figures since 2001, accentuating the increasing trend in drugs since 2005.

In Portugal, since decriminalization, the number of drug-related homicides increased 40%. Portugal was the only European country with a significant increase in (drug-related) homicides between 2001 and 2006.

Cato’s Portugal drug study based on false/distorted government data?

Don Hank

The libertarian Cato Institute recently ran a study of the drug situation in Portugal, which legalized drugs de facto in 2001. It published some figures showing how deaths among drug users and some other parameters went down, apparently signaling positive results for the legalization experiment. Scientific American published details on this study and now it is being quoted throughout the world in what seems to be a mammoth push for legalization of drugs everywhere.

But all is not as meets the eye.

Cato is a libertarian institute and part of its agenda is to support the counter-intuitive hypothesis that drug legalization helps reduce the ill effects of drug use.

However, Cato is not known to be a professional medical or scientific group, whose agenda is the health and welfare of their clients.

By contrast, there is an online journal called Saude in Portugal published purely by medical doctors.

Not so surprisingly, their findings differ from those of Cato, which has ignored the negatives and concludes:

“The data show that, judged by virtually every metric, the Portuguese decriminalization framework has been a resounding success.”

 http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=10080

Below is my translation of an excerpt from the Saude article, written by Manuel Pinto Coelho, President of the APLD. The world press, always eager to follow the latest trends, has ignored the Portuguese doctors and prefers to disseminate the report of the ideologically based Cato Institute.

It looks like a new policy may again be forged on the basis of statements by political activists rather than professionals who are closest to the problem.

Heroine consumption rose 57.5% in recent years

Model for combating drugs is ‘pure disinformation’ – APLD President

At variance with what official agencies have recently disclosed, the problem of drug dependence in Portugal has never been more serious: Between 2001, the year the decriminalization law went into effect, and 2007, continued consumption of narcotics rose, in absolute terms, by 66%.  

In this period In this period consumption increased 215% for cocaine, 85% for ecstasy, 57.5%  for heroine and 37% for cannabis. These data are from a report of the Institute of Drugs and Drug Dependence (IDT), published in 2008.

Since decriminalization there has been a 50% increase in drug use among young people between the ages of 20 and 24. On the other hand, the number of persons who have experimented with illicit drugs at least once rose from 7.8% in 2001 to 12% in 2007 (IDT Report of Activities of Nov 2008).

End of translation

Saude is an online journal published by medical doctors. Who are you going to believe? Doctors or the government that has driven its government to the brink of bankruptcy?

It is no surprise that journalists the world over would fall for the government data and conclusions. But it is sad to note that Scientific American would take the Cato study at face value without doing any further research. How hard would it have been to ask the doctors of Portugal?

Of course, after hackers found out how scientists at the University of East Anglia falsified meteorological data for political reasons, no one should be surprised. The scientific method has been falling into disuse in academe, even among scientists.

Full Portuguese language text:

http://saude.sapo.pt/noticias/saude-medicina/consumo-de-heroina-cresceu-57-5-nos-ultimos-anos.html

Commentary opposing decriminalization of drugs
Demise of the scientific method: