Guns, Drugs And Libertarianism

BY Herschel Smith
5 years, 8 months ago

In a rather odd set of events, David Codrea published on actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman concerning guns and drugs – before Hoffman died.  Hoffman had assisted Mayor Bloomberg in his gun control efforts, and Hoffman was called a friend of the gun control movementCodrea’s article ends with the following challenge.

If Hoffman and MAIG and its wholly-owned Demand Action subsidiary are serious, let’s see if they’re willing to address that issue head on, or if their whole shtick is merely fraudulent political theater intended to advance citizen, rather than violent criminal disarmament. Surely if MAIG is sincere, they will join me to “Demand Phillip Seymour Hoffman rat out his heroin provider,” and possibly lead authorities further up the supply chain in an effort to save lives from “gun violence”?

David is of course aware that publishing at this point in time will offend some people, and considered pulling the article in its entirety.  I’m glad that he didn’t, and this serves as a springboard for discussion.

More specifically, David weighs in a little more personally on this matter at War On Guns.

Let me make it clear, as I have in the past, that I do not support the so-called “War on Drugs,” which I parody with the very name of this blog. I see no Constitutional authority for the Feds to involve themselves, and I believe the negative impacts of prohibition at all levels, including the evils of asset forfeiture, domestic financial and other spying, police militarization, official corruption and imprisonment of non-violent “offenders” are poor tradeoffs for whatever it is all those intrusions on liberty are supposed to accomplish.  I don’t think treating moral, spiritual, psychological and medical problems as criminal problems has any chance of being effective, and only guarantees more badness all the way around.

Don’t let it affect the rest of us, and have at it. The second you do, it becomes our business.

The thing is, Hoffman let it affect the rest of us, because he gave money to some of the most violent criminals plaguing us. I won’t get into a circular logic argument here about what things would be like IF the state hadn’t interfered by making drugs “illegal,” because what we’re dealing with now is how things ARE, not how some might wish them to be. The fact is, if you give money to the gangs and cartels, you are enabling their ability to hurt and kill others, which they do with regularity. And finding the guy had something like 70 bags of junk in his apartment, and had most likely been using it at the same time he was doing “gun control” voice-overs for Bloomberg cartoons, indicates he was giving substantial aid and comfort to some very evil, dangerous and violent people. That makes it our business, particularly with his insistence that the state make the rest of us more vulnerable to his supplier’s gangland associates.

This is a very interesting observation, and it’s not at all dissimilar to one I have made myself.

… before we deal with immigration, let’s deal with broader doctrines like libertarianism and what I do and don’t believe.  Let’s deal with the issue of legalization of drugs and one example.  While as a Christian I should say that I care about my readers concerning their spiritual and physical health, from a legal standpoint I don’t care one whit what you put into your body.  That’s from a theoretical standpoint.

Now for the practical side of things.  If you want to legalize drugs of all kinds, then be my guest, right after you turn around socialized medicine and forswear forever my fiduciary responsibility for support for any drug addict or funding of their medical care.  While my hard earned money is confiscated by the power of a badge and gun to support people who will not support themselves, then those people (the recipients of my money) should expect me to be involved in their lives.  My involvement will be as obnoxious and overbearing as I can possibly make it – right up until you no longer want my involvement, and then at that point I will assume you no longer want my money either.  I’m good on both accounts.  Leave me alone and I will leave you alone to do what you want.

From a personal perspective on Phillip Seymour Hoffman, I have to say that I find addiction of any kind to be heartbreaking and very sad.  I do not wish ill on any addict, and I probably do not have the fortitude to get off of any of that stuff if I ever got on it.  I do not take delight in any addict’s demise.  I have sympathy for the plight of the addict, and I say that from the very bottom of my heart.

What I do not have sympathy for is someone meddling in my life and getting preachy with me when their own life if so problematic.  Furthermore, with David I insist that libertarians be consistent libertarians.  I find that most libertarians want the freedom that libertarian brings, while they still won’t use their considerable influence to stop the bloodletting of taxation from the middle class.

Thus we have the government stealing from the middle class by the power of a badge and gun to finance the drug addict’s medical care in emergency rooms, fund the horrible, terrible and unnecessary “war on drugs,” feed the addicts (and other non-workers) with food stamps, and so on the list goes.

If you are a libertarian, I am completely uninterested in your designs for freedom unless you couple it with my freedoms so tightly that it cannot be unwoven.  I won’t interfere with your life choices, and you leave me alone too – and that includes my money and (in a note to the fat ass Soldierboy-wannbe cops and the traitor judges who approve of their actions) my freedom to stay in my home without fearing violent, dangerous SWAT raids.

I know that the anti-gunners will charge me here with inconsistency since there is an alleged “societal cost to gun ownership.”  But see, there isn’t.  This cost, whether it is misuse of guns or lack of ability to protect oneself because of gun control laws, is entirely personal.  My gun ownership has never harmed anyone, and won’t.  You have my personal approval to punish criminals, but you need to recognize that it was an individual who decided to violate the law.  Thievery of my money happens by the collective.

I find that abortion is a special case where libertarians and Christians disagree because of the very definition of human life, which both find sacred enough to protect.  The libertarian finds his own life and choices sacred, and I find the life of the unborn sacred.  On this I will never relent or compromise.  Never.  Not one iota.

But as long as you observe and respect this stipulation, libertarians need to understand something about conservatives, Christians and Christian libertarians (of which category I consider myself).  We are not the target because we aren’t the enemy, no matter what you’ve been taught by the collectivists.


Comments

  1. On February 5, 2014 at 7:34 am, revjen45 said:

    Dead Junkies for Gun Control all agree – Demand a plan!

  2. On February 5, 2014 at 9:47 am, Paul B said:

    Yes, the behavior Hoffman engaged in smacks of scatomonious prigs. It is sad he did not have more self control but controlling us to save his self is no solution.

  3. On February 5, 2014 at 6:29 pm, Michael Schlechter said:

    I agree that addiction is a terribly sad condition, and the despondency associated with advanced addiction is often lethal. Christian charity should and would impel us to care for our addicted neighbors as ourselves. Government compulsion at the point of a gun, however, is as far from charity as rape is from mutual marital lovemaking. In the absence of (largely ineffective) government-mandated addiction treatments, the communities and churches of this nation would provide some modicum of care for those so afflicted, as they did in the past. Addicts would choose to seek the treatment of their choice, or none. Most importantly, you and I would not be plundered to provide support to behavior in others of any kind, whether or not we agree with said behavior.

  4. On February 5, 2014 at 8:31 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Michael. Outstanding comment. Simply marvelous. Rarely when I write an article do I say everything that’s on my mind. I like for commenters to fill in the gaps.

    Christian charity indeed. That’s why there is a hospital in my home town that used to be named Presbyterian Hospital, and is now named Novant Health. It was once a ministry, now a business bent on making money, and it is as in bed with the state as any other hospital. Thus they charge you $200 per aspirin, in order to fund everything else. What was once under the governance of good deacons, ministers and the like who could administer grace as needed, now under the control of young graduates of social programs at state universities. And as churches become even more anemic and refuse to preach out against the growth of the leviathan state, the churches in turn become even more irrelevant and the state becomes even more powerful, spending my money on whatever suits their fancy. Thus do they usurp God’s authority and he wealth of hard working Americans.

    You have encapsulated in a paragraph the difference between libertarianism and Christian libertarianism. Very nice job.

  5. On February 10, 2014 at 11:04 am, mike said:

    “You have encapsulated in a paragraph the difference between libertarianism and Christian libertarianism.”

    Pardon me Sir, but I don’t think he did. He distinguished between charity and compulsion. That’s all. You don’t have to be a Christian to engage in charity, and you don’t get to accurately call yourself “libertarian” if you believe government programs are a form of charity.

  6. On February 10, 2014 at 11:28 am, Herschel Smith said:

    I understand your point – sort of – or at least your objection, but I believe you’re reading too much into this, or perhaps not enough. I never said that a person cannot engage in charity if they’re not a Christian. And neither the commenter nor I said that compulsion was charity. We both said exactly the opposite.
    Nor would I allege that a person can be a libertarian and believe in compulsion (and I don’t think that Michael is saying that libertarians believe in compulsion while Christian libertarians do not). The point is that you can throw away your charity by spending it unwisely or for no good reason. The Christian practice has been to tightly control charity by placing it under the rubric of an organized body that ISN’T the state (such as the church) where it can be monitored and stopped if the charity is being spent unwisely. Perhaps I should have said that this is the intent, even if it has not been practiced that way because of corruption and whatever else.
    Or another way of stating it is that the Christian practice (or intent) has been to use all of God’s institutions for their proper function, and charity belongs to family [AND CHURCH], not the state. A libertarian (proper) would include the family, but not the church under his institutions. So the difference is that a libertarian (big “L”) recognizes the power and authority of the individual (as do I), but typically not another institution (like the Church).
    That being said, as the church has become more and more anemic, the power of the state has grown and grown in the vacuum of leadership left by the church (as Michael points out), and even Christians are turning more and more to charity as designted by self and only self (if they in fact have anything at all left to give after the state milks them dry).
    There are a whole host of implications and sidebar conversations we could have about Michael’s comment, and rarely can I say all of these things in a single article or comment. I don’t have the time. I have a day job.

  7. On February 11, 2014 at 12:47 am, mike said:

    Michael Schlechter’s comment was a good one, and I agree with the sentiments it expresses. However…

    “A libertarian (proper) would include the family, but not the church under his institutions.”

    Why would a “proper” libertarian not include the Church? It strikes me that any given libertarian may or may not do so. Participation in a church is voluntary after all, is it not? And if participation is voluntary, then surely there can be no specifically libertarian objection to participation in, and acts of charity organized through, the Church.

    I too do not have time to drag a discussion out all day long and am not interested in such. I was merely pointing out what I believe to have been an error: Michael Schlechter’s comment, whilst good, did not in fact draw a distinction between libertarianism and Christian libertarianism – unless one holds the assumption that “proper” libertarians cannot also be Christians and must instead be militant atheists, which is not something I have found to be the case at all.

  8. On February 10, 2014 at 1:32 pm, Josh said:

    Your final statement is correct, but I disagree with your initial argument. The two ideals being contrasted are not inclusive of others. Contrasting libertarianism with its practice in conjunction with other faiths (or non faith) isn’t the objective of the discussion.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published February 4th, 2014 by Herschel Smith.

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