Objectivist rationale for drug legalisation

Yaron Brook answers a question about drug legalisation. In an earlier video from the ASI in London he talks at some length about selfishness and he uses drug abuse as a definitive example of the difference between rational self interest and self-destructive behaviours. This illustrates a subtlety that is common to a lot of libertarian commentary that is worth calling out:

A libertarian might have an opinion about what is good and sensible, and he might even tell you his opinion in the harshest terms, but the argument about what is right and proper for political institutions is very different and for a political or judicial institution to tell you what to do must involve force, and is beyond the pale for a libertarian. Here Yaron demonstrates that while he disapproves of drug use, he recognises the limits of the state’s role.

Brook also makes a point that is new, at least to me, that one positive consequence of drug legalisation is that it would encourage the open sale of drug addiction treatments, exactly as happens now with nicotine. I hadn’t thought of that, but it makes sense.

Simon Gibbs

Simon is a London based IT contractor and the proprietor of Libertarian Home. Working with logic and cause-and-effect each day he was naturally attracted to nerdy libertarianism and later to the benevolent logic of Objectivism. Find him on Google+ 


  2 comments for “Objectivist rationale for drug legalisation

  1. Paul Marks
    May 25, 2012 at 8:24 am

    Mr Brook is a man of solid common sense (human reasoning). I have never met him – but I have often seen him talk.

    It is an interesting thing about Randian Objectivists (and I speak as someone who is not one) – they tend to be very reliable on policy advice (on general matters).

    Some libertarians (I use the word “libertarian” to mean supporter of the private property nonaggression principle) tend to become some obsessed with the finer points of ideology that they make obvious “common sense” errors.

    For example, forgetting that the enemies of Britain and Uncle Sam may actually be worse than Britain and Uncle Sam (this mistake is not only made by anarchists – I have known some nonanarchists to make it).

    Randian Objectivists may dislike the term “practical people” (because this term is often used to describe UNPRINCIPLED people – bad people).

    However, in a better sense of the term, they are very “practical” – they are concerned with the effects of actions in the real world.

    So Mr Brook carefully thinks about the consequences of policy.

  2. Stuart Heal
    May 29, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    I think that’s the best libertarian video I’ve seen all year so far. No appeals to obscure philosophers, no name-calling of opponents, just sound logic and commmon sense.

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