Monday, 23 February 2009

Legislative Addiction

Randy Barnett, quoting the opening of this article he wrote on drug prohibition, draws an interesting comparison between drug addicts and legislative addicts:
"Some drugs make people feel good. That is why some people use them. Some of these drugs are alleged to have side effects so destructive that many advise against their use. The same may be said about statutes that attempt to prohibit the manufacture, sale, and use of drugs. Using statutes in this way makes some people feel good because they think they are "doing something" about what they believe to be a serious social problem. Others who support these laws are not so altruistically motivated. Employees of law enforcement bureaus and academics who receive government grants to study drug use, for example, may gain financially from drug prohibition. But as with using drugs, using drug laws can have moral and practical side-effects so destructive that they argue against ever using legal institutions in this manner.

One might even say--and not altogether metaphorically--that some people become psychologically or economically addicted to drug laws."
The entire post is worth reading, as an intelligent response to the oft-heard critique that libertarian ideas are 'too impractical' to be implemented.

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