Libertarianism Is Immoral

I consider myself an anarcho-capitalist, but I believe in many libertarian philosophies, one of them being the non-initiation of force principle. Whenever I am discussing libertarian philosophies with people, they often say, 'That's not moral.' There is a very good reason for this--libertarianism is not moral! It has nothing to do with morality. Libertarianism deals with the legal world, not the subjective moral world. There is what is moral, and then there is what is legal, and the two are not always the same.

I don't care what someone's 'god' tells them is the right thing to do. All I care about in regard to property is what is the legal thing to do. Everything else is just commentary!

Walter Block has a great explanation of this in a short article 'The Non-Aggression Axiom of Libertarianism.' For a more in-depth explanation of this, I highly recommend this PDF of Walter Block's: 'Walter's Response to Schwartz.'

First it is important to understand that libertarianism is not a moral philosophy. It is possible to be a libertarian and think that prostitution is immoral, while at the same time agree that it should be legal. The same argument would hold true for drugs or any other vice as well. Personal beliefs have no place in the legal world.

Most people I talk to think that drugs should be illegal because they are bad for people. I would not even begin to argue the pro's and con's of drugs as to whether they are healthy or not. In fact, I am almost certain that they are indeed bad for you. But that has nothing to do with whether something should be legal or illegal.

I recently had a discussion with a friend who said to me that she thought drugs should be illegal. I asked her what was her reasoning for this. She said that she was afraid that drug dealers would be selling drugs to her children. I thought this was very amusing and questioned her further. I asked her if drug prohibition had worked so well, why do we still have a drug problem? I don't think she really thought it through. Very simple really, if drugs were legal, there would be no illegal drug dealers. If there were no drug dealers, she would never have to worry about her children buying drugs on the street from a dealer.

If you were able to walk into a local drugstore and purchase a pack of joints, the crime element would be eliminated, (except for the government stealing part of the transaction through taxation). Just as when alcohol was made illegal during prohibition, organized crime soared. Today how many people do you see on street corners selling bottles of moonshine?

What most people fail to see is the bigger picture. If you really want to protect your children, legalize all drugs. By taking out the black market, there is a much better chance that they will never meet the man on the corner selling drugs. It is not a matter of morality; drugs should be legal, not just some drugs, but all drugs! In fact, the more dangerous the drug is, the greater the need to legalize it. Get the more dangerous drugs off the street first!

It is a proven fact that this is true. In countries were drugs and prostitution is legal, the crime rate is lower. There was not even a drug law in this country until 1914. The drug war is a joke in the first place. It was not until the government made it a problem that it became a problem. The time has come to re-legalize drugs.

There should be no victimless crimes at all. All crimes should be judged for what they are, crimes of trespass. If there is no trespass, there is no crime. This is really all crimes are anyway. Whenever you do something to someone else's property, you are trespassing. If you commit theft, assault, rape or murder, it is nothing more than a trespass. All laws should deal with trespass, and to what degree the trespass was.

I will admit there are problems with the libertarian philosophy. As with Walter Block's example, there will be times when you will have to make a non-libertarian choice, as with the example of the cabin. Even so, I still say it's a superior philosophy. If I was to steal someone's property because I was cold and hungry and would have died otherwise, it is still theft and I would need to be charged as such. It is never good to steal, even for a really good cause, but I would do it to survive. I would hope to be able to explain myself to the party in question, offering to re-pay them, but a crime would have nonetheless been committed.

There is no utopia, and there will never be a perfect system; even libertarianism has its flaws. For me, though, there are only two ways to deal with people, coercively and non-coercively. I only want to be dealt with non-coercively. If you agree, then you are welcome in my home.

Libertarianism is not always pretty, it is not always easy, but it is always right.

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Mike Wasdin's picture
Columns on STR: 46

Mike Wasdin is an Anarcho-Capitalist from Phoenix, Arizona. He also moderates an anti-government website on Yahoo.