On Liberty, 1869, by John Stuart Mill
“The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental or spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.”
Link to the full text: On Liberty
I’d almost forgotten about this little gem of an essay until Barney Frank used it while introducing his annual reducing/eliminating penalties for medical marijuana bill(s). My only complaint is that it doesn’t go far enough, not by a long shot. We’ve got to start somewhere though and I’ll take a win however we get it.
The War on Drugs, like every other attempt at prohibition, will never succeed at anything but making money for the crooks and cops and politicians. Oh – and those who profit from building and running jails and the attorneys and staff who have a great practice in representing drug dealers, and the hit men for the cartels (since they can hardly work differences out in a court), and the gangs and …. I could probably write pages listing those who gain from the war on drugs in one way or another, and none of them are people and practices we want to encourage.
Alcohol Prohibition brought us Al Capone and the mafia along with almost a century of resultant alcohol abuse patterns. At least then, it was brought on it was all at once, and there was no hiding from the fact that it was the attempt at Prohibition itself that was causing the surrounding crime and corruption. The slow tightening the screws of the attempts at drug prohibition have made it much easier to blame everything but the law itself for the corruption and violence that always goes along with it. If nothing else, think about this …. When was the last time you heard of liquor store owners shooting it out over customers or suppliers?