Drugs, self defense and the state

January 27, 2009

As discussed previously, one of the most fundamental ploys of the state is to disarm the people and make self defense a crime. In the United States we are half way to the former and most of the way to the later. Yes, there has been resurgence in ‘castle doctrine’ laws recently, but use a firearm to defend yourself against an assailant inside or outside of your home and expect to be arrested, questioned and detained while the state determines whether your action was ‘justified’.


Once the people are largely disarmed and disincented, if not outright prohibited from defending themselves, the state will then create a permanent, full-time police force to provide for your defense. Bureaucracies and taxes will be then be expanded to support such a force. Over time, the force will be expanded to include various specialist divisions – drugs, traffic, undercover secret police, etc – and bureaucracies will expand and overlap accordingly – federal, state, county and local – until the people suffer a vast web of agencies each in charge of policing the same group: the people. Fortunately for the agents of the state, its various bodies will be busy legislating and regulating away the people’s liberties and creating new ‘crimes’ against which they might then police.


By nature of this dynamic is the ‘black market’ created. The very term suggests images of something ‘dark’, something ‘bad’. But let us explore this further. The black market is nothing but the unsanctioned, unregulated, untaxed commercial activity that takes place, to a greater or lesser extent, within every state, largely proportionate to the degree of its exertions of control.


The reason so much violent crime is associated with black market activities is simple: when a specific commercial activity is outlawed by the state, those engaging in that activity can no longer seek protection from the agents of the state – they cannot call the police and ask for protection because they are being robbed for their marijuana or their untaxed liquor. Therefore, such economic actors are clear targets for true criminals: those who perpetrate violent crimes such as armed robbery and kidnapping. It is because of this that they naturally arm themselves with ‘illegal’ firearms and provide for their own defense. This dynamic escalates until a number of such actors morph into true criminals themselves.


But there is no natural association between black market activities and violence. Violence is bad for business. Such violence is inserted by the state. If anything, true criminals would be incented, instead, to rob investment bankers or doctors. They do not, because these men are not forced to carry large sums of cash and may rely on the full power and resources of the state to protect them – such is their reward for following the rules set forth by the state.


The war on drugs


By now, given the countless examples of history, it should be abundantly clear that the state, however many obstacles it may create, and however much money is spent, lacks the capacity to prevent people from engaging in commerce. Where there is demand for a product or service, that product or service will manifest. This is true of drugs and prostitution. This was true of alcohol. It was true of food during the blockade of Stalingrad, or the American South. And it is true today.


When one looks at the availability of drugs in our country today despite decades of prohibition, hundreds of billions of dollars spent, vast bureaucracies created, hundreds of thousands incarcerated and the tools of the military and even our foreign policy employed, one can only judge the ‘war on drugs’ as a monumental failure. 


Arguments against ‘legalizing’ drugs


1. Drugs are immoral


See my discussion of this argument here. Whether drugs are immoral or not is not my concern. Nor should it be yours as it regards the authority of the state. To many things may be ascribed the attributes of ‘good’ or ‘bad’. I also have opinions on which are which. However, we must never allow the state to co-opt our own morality to further its ends, nor must we ever collude with the state to further our own. The only dynamic here is ceding power to the state. Once given away, the people rarely get this power back. By ceding such authority to the state we train it to exercise its monopoly on force to ban, to compel action or inaction of the citizenry. It is then only a matter of time before the state exercises more such power and expands its scale and scope. There is no stopping this beast once unleashed.


2. Drugs are a risk to the health of a society.


What is unhealthy to a society is an out of control state. States have killed more people than drugs ever will. The ‘war on drugs’ is unhealthy to a society. Look at our incarceration rates. We have prisons full, courts clogged with legions of political prisoners who have committed no real crime other than the use and/or distribution of substances the state deems ‘prohibited’. Even if you are of a statist bent, do the math. It would be a more efficient allocation of confiscated wages (taxes) to treat addicts rather than go through the motions of enforcement, trial and imprisonment.


3. Legalize drugs and we’ll be awash in addicts.


This argument is a nonstarter simply because of the availability of drugs. Anyone who desires to use drugs is already using them. I do not choose to use drugs for a variety of reasons. None of these reasons has to do with illegality. Illegality didn’t stop our last three presidents from using drugs. If drugs were ‘legalized’ today, would you begin using them? No? Well, there you go.


4. Drugs create crime.


This line of reasoning has already been debunked above. The state creates crime, because only the state can take a market and make it ‘black’.


The Ever-Expanding State


And so we outline once again the ever expanding, ever encroaching, intrusive and dangerous dynamic of the state. This dynamic is in play all around us as the state, to the cheers of the banners, the formerly independent people, grows exponentially, pushing its way into all aspects of our lives. And it does so with the full support of the people.


Question a ‘small government conservative’. Sooner or later you will find a whole host of issues where he favors handing authority over to the state. Whether its abortion, pornography, drugs or the compromises with the state over ‘common sense’ gun control.


Question a ‘progressive’ and you will soon find areas where he favors the further encroachment of the state, from firearm prohibitions to wage and wealth confiscation, from cell phone restrictions to an entire universe of incremental statism.


And this says nothing of the unprecedented authority granted to the state under the guise of ‘the war on terror’.


The War against the People


There is only one war going on in this country. It is the war against the people, brilliantly and incrementally waged by the state. So far the people have chosen not to fight back.  So insidious is this war that the majority of the people cheer on their opponent. It is suicidal politics. It is the equivalent of an army, in war, turning their rifles on each other. Faction against faction the people do battle with each other, all to the further empowerment of the state.


There is a war going on for the freedom and independence of the American people. It is going on all around us.  Few shots have yet been fired, though hundreds of thousands have been imprisoned, fined, levied and harassed. And so far, with the support of the vast majority of the people, the state is winning.




2 Responses to “Drugs, self defense and the state”

  1. […] the agorists philosophically, if not practically.  Some of these control mechanisms are touched on here, and include a monopoly on force, restrictions on the right of self-defense and control of wealth […]

  2. […] any kind and a disgrace to me. I think you will enjoy this: Drugs, self-defense, and the state Drugs, self defense and the state barbedwiresmile __________________ http://www.barbedwiresmile.wordpress.com "When the government fears the people, […]

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