Blaming Libertarianism for Every ‘Societal Woe’

Blaming Libertarianism for Every ‘Societal Woe’

Normally, a random post on Twitter doesn’t deserve an answer in the form of an article, but in an era where the libertarian ideology (that of non-aggression and strict property rights), which is much closer to the ideas of liberty expounded by the founders of America than modern “Conservatism” could ever hope to be, it is probably warranted. Whether it be Tucker Carlson blaming Austrian Economics and libertarianism for betraying the “American worker” on his highly rated nightly entertainment program, or a Tweet from a “free-speech-maximalist” social media platform attempting to hold libertarianism liable for “drag queen story hour,” the opioid epidemic or mass migration, it’s about time to point out that there are a couple huge elephants in the room these people seem to be ignoring. 

Mind you, one should not be shocked by their ignorance. These parties have obviously bought into the hysteria that those in power always use as a rudder to guide the gullible and emotional to and fro. Most people nowadays are like modern doctors when they come across something they can’t quite diagnose; they concentrate on the symptoms rather than the root cause. Examining the Tweet at hand, we see not only this issue, but just plain ignorance. 

The Purple, Blinking Elephant in the Room 

Normally, an article such as this one should proceed in tearing apart the subject of its irritation by starting at the beginning, but since the author’s main vexations are held until the end we shall proceed there. 

Whether you’re talking about big “L,” or small ‘l’ libertarianism, they both can agree that the smaller the government is, the more liberty the individual has. The author seems to be working under the assumption that small, or no government, would cause young kids to be flashed at “drag queen story hour,” heroin overdoses and mass migration.  

The United States currently has the largest, most powerful government in the history of mankind. They are 23 trillion dollars in debt not counting unfunded liabilities. They have military bases in over 80 countries. They lead all nations in incarcerating their citizens which has been fueled by an almost 50-year, immoral “War on Drugs.” They extort upward of 50% of their citizens incomes when you take into consideration all taxes and fees.  

If the United States was ever inspired by libertarian ideals, those days were gone over 100 years ago. The author’s main criticisms; young kids being flashed at “drag queen story hour,” heroin overdoses and mass migration, are all occurring under a government that you would be hard-pressed to find a shred of libertarian ideology in. “Drag Queen Story Hour” is happening in government schools and libraries. Libertarians would have public schools and libraries abolished in favor of private alternatives. The opioid epidemic has been proven by libertarian academics to be a direct result of government regulation. Dr Mark Thornton has done the best work on this and has appeared on this author’s podcast driving that point home. Mass migration is being caused by foreign policy, interventionism, and if it is some grand conspiracy, it is being orchestrated by politicians and people of influence using the monopolistic power of government to accomplish their goals. Most libertarians would see government abolished and free market solutions put in place such as making all property private thus solving the “migration” issue and turning it into a matter of trespassing.  

The inevitable objections now will start. The most obvious being that these problems would become more rampant in a society without a central power (having already proven that all of this is occurring with, either the seal of approval of the biggest government in history, or with their apathetic attitude towards it, this forces the author to argue for what, even more government?). Sure, that argument can be made but it is all based on conjecture as Robert Higgs likes to point out. It’s all theoretical. What can be proven empirically, is all of the horrors that the author is bemoaning are happening under the most powerful State on the planet contradicting any point trying to be made in the Tweet regarding libertarianism. 

Maybe the author believes that if only they were in charge, they would have all the answers. Many socialists like to point at certain countries and say, “that wasn’t real socialism,” which translated usually means they believe themselves to be smarter, and more “moral” than those who’ve gone before, and if only they had been the shot-caller, utopia would’ve been achieved. Those who deny horseshoe theory deny reality. 

Now we can go back to the start. 

Conservative Values 

Starting off your criticism of libertarianism by invoking “Conservative values” without explaining exactly what they are is sophistry. The claim is made that these values are non-existent without Christianity but there the writer falls on their face again. What are Christian values? One could go to ten different denominational churches of Christianity and get different answers to the question of what their cultural values are. The author has in their mind what Conservatism and Christianity must be, and to separate the two is anathema. “To hell with the Conservative atheist! He is no ally of mine!”  

They proceed with the statement that “libertarianism is inherently not conservative.” Since they don’t define their terms; how can one even begin to take this statement apart? Anyone who would make an attempt would be working under assumptions to which the author can simply retort, “that’s not what I meant!” 

I do champion the statement though. Libertarianism is not Conservative. Murray Rothbard makes that abundantly clear: 

Conservatism is a dying remnant of the ancien régime of the preindustrial era, and, as such, it has no future. In its contemporary American form, the recent Conservative Revival embodied the death throes of an ineluctably moribund, Fundamentalist, rural, small-town, white Anglo-Saxon America. 

Conservatism is another form of collectivism that cannot find solutions outside of it. In other words, the individual may be spoken of, and even championed, but to stray from the thought process contained within puts you outside of it. It has no room for individualism as can clearly be seen in the Tweet this article references (leaving aside the three topics the author highlights as they can be considered legitimate concerns to individuals as well). 

Addressing their finale of “live and let live bro” is tiresome. I don’t know any libertarian who would echo that statement unless it was qualified with “as long as you aren’t damaging someone else’s person or property.” It is actually a perfect example of a “straw man fallacy” and warrants no further discussion. 

Anyone who spends considerable time on the “political” side of social media should be able to recognize that most statements like the one in the referenced Tweet are being posted by persons who are either ignorant, or dishonest. Recently, it appears that more people are intent on putting out false narratives about people or ideologies they disagree with in the moment. It is a fact that there have been a number of attacks recently on the libertarian ideology by those who will say in one breath that it is useless and outdated, while in the next blame it for the cause celebre. One may be inclined to believe they’re feeling threatened and lashing out. This should be seen as inspiration moving forward. 

Episode 181: A Brief Survey of the Opium Trade in America

Episode 181: A Brief Survey of the Opium Trade in America

68 Minutes

Suitable for All Ages

After Mance released his recent episode with Dr. Mark Thornton of the Mises Institute detailing the Opioid Crisis in America, he was contacted by former professional BMX rider, and opioid user, Jason Perz.

Not only has Jason overcome his addiction, but he has taken on the task of researching the history of the opium trade in America. His research includes the names of many people and Institutions that anyone who has taken a high school history class will be familiar with.

Jason’s Ted Talk

Thriller BMX Team

Mance’s Patreon

Episode 169: The Opioid Crisis Exposed By Mises Senior Fellow Dr. Mark Thornton

Episode 169: The Opioid Crisis Exposed By Mises Senior Fellow Dr. Mark Thornton

43 Minutes

Suitable for All Ages

Mance welcomes Senior Mises Institute Fellow Dr. Mark Thornton to the show. Dr. Thornton recently gave a talk at the Mises Institute Supporters Summit on the opioid crisis that is plaguing the United States. Dr. Thornton lays out a short history of this tragic epidemic that is taking lives every day.

He addresses how doctors prescribe these drugs, how government regulates them and explains what happens when people are forced into the “black market” to sustain their addiction.

The Skyscraper Curse

The Real Cause of America’s Opioid Epidemic

Mises.Org Mises Wire

Donate to Mises

10/31/17 Mark Thornton explains why ending heroin prohibition will solve America’s opiate crisis

10/31/17 Mark Thornton explains why ending heroin prohibition will solve America’s opiate crisis

Mark Thornton returns to the show to discuss his latest articles for the Mises Institute “The Real Cause of America’s Opioid Epidemic” and “Big Pharma Makes Drugs that Please Regulators, Not Customers.” Thornton makes the case for why legalizing heroin—and all drugs—would be a major step towards solving the opioid crisis. Instead, because of FDA regulations, doctors and pharmaceutical companies are not held liable for the awful consequences of their use. According to Thornton, and counter to popular opinion, lack of government regulations is what will actually regulate the quality of the product on the market.

Mark Thornton is a senior fellow at the Mises Institute. He serves as the Book Review Editor of the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics. His publications include The Economics of Prohibition (1991), Tariffs, Blockades, and Inflation: The Economics of the Civil War (2004), The Quotable Mises (2005), The Bastiat Collection (2007), An Essay on Economic Theory (2010), and The Bastiat Reader (2014).

Discussed on the show:

  • Ludwig Von Mises Institute 
  • Chicago School
  • “In one year, drug overdoses killed more Americans than the entire Vietnam War did” (Vox)
  • Fentanyl
  • “Authorities seize enough fentanyl for ‘1 million overdoses'” (CBS News)
  • “Trump to declare national emergency on opioids months after initial promise” (CNN)
  • “Tylenol made a hero of Johnson & Johnson : The recall that started them all” (New York Times)
10/31/17 Mark Thornton explains why ending heroin prohibition will solve America’s opiate crisis

10/31/17 Mark Thornton explains why ending heroin prohibition will solve America's opiate crisis

Mark Thornton returns to the show to discuss his latest articles for the Mises Institute “The Real Cause of America’s Opioid Epidemic” and “Big Pharma Makes Drugs that Please Regulators, Not Customers.” Thornton makes the case for why legalizing heroin—and all drugs—would be a major step towards solving the opioid crisis. Instead, because of FDA regulations, doctors and pharmaceutical companies are not held liable for the awful consequences of their use. According to Thornton, and counter to popular opinion, lack of government regulations is what will actually regulate the quality of the product on the market.
Mark Thornton is a senior fellow at the Mises Institute. He serves as the Book Review Editor of the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics. His publications include The Economics of Prohibition (1991), Tariffs, Blockades, and Inflation: The Economics of the Civil War (2004), The Quotable Mises (2005), The Bastiat Collection (2007), An Essay on Economic Theory (2010), and The Bastiat Reader (2014).
Discussed on the show:

  • Ludwig Von Mises Institute 
  • Chicago School
  • “In one year, drug overdoses killed more Americans than the entire Vietnam War did” (Vox)
  • Fentanyl
  • “Authorities seize enough fentanyl for ‘1 million overdoses'” (CBS News)
  • “Trump to declare national emergency on opioids months after initial promise” (CNN)
  • “Tylenol made a hero of Johnson & Johnson : The recall that started them all” (New York Times)
10/31/17 Mark Thornton explains why ending heroin prohibition will solve America’s opiate crisis

DEA Whistleblower: Opioid Crisis Fueled by Congress and Drug Companies for Profit

This article originally appeared at Anti-Media. 

 

Following the publication of a pair of reports that shed light on the role Donald Trump’s pick for drug czar, Representative Tom Marino, played in fuelling the opioid crisis, Marino withdrew his name from consideration on Tuesday.

Over the weekend, The Washington Post and CBS’s 60 Minutes published the findings of their joint investigation into the root causes of an American opioid epidemic that has claimed 200,000 lives over the last two decades.

What the outlets concluded is that distributors — the companies that ship the pills to clinics and pharmacies — work hand in hand with Congress and industry lobbyists. As 60 Minutes wrote, they are “providing the rocket fuel” for a crisis that has no end in sight.

Whistleblower Joe Rannazzisi, who used to run the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Office of Diversion Control, the unit that oversees the pharmaceutical industry, says the distributors are simply out to make money and ignore regulations designed to prevent what the DEA terms “suspicious orders” from being shipped out.

“This is an industry that allowed millions and millions of drugs to go into bad pharmacies and doctors’ offices, that distributed them out to people who had no legitimate need for those drugs,” Rannazzisi told 60 Minutes interviewer Bill Whitaker.

“You know the implication of what you’re saying,” Whitaker said to Rannazzisi, “that these big companies knew that they were pumping drugs into American communities that were killing people.”

The whistleblower responded: “That’s not an implication, that’s a fact. That’s exactly what they did.”

Rannazzisi claims the biggest blow to the DEA’s efforts to combat the opioid crisis came in 2016, when a law that essentially defanged the agency breezed through Congress and was signed into law by President Barack Obama. That law significantly lessened investigators’ ability to freeze drug shipments they deemed suspicious.

A main sponsor of that bill was Representative Marino, who until Tuesday was in line to become Trump’s director of National Drug Control Policy—a position commonly referred to as “drug czar.” It was reported that Trump felt immediate pressure to drop Marino following the weekend’s dual publications.

It was also reported this week that President Trump — again, directly following the investigation by The Post and 60 Minutes — will soon declare the opioid crisis a national emergency, giving the federal government additional authority to combat the epidemic.

10/31/17 Mark Thornton explains why ending heroin prohibition will solve America’s opiate crisis

Reverse Gateway Drug: Opioid Deaths Plummeting in States with Legal Weed

This article originally appeared at Anti-Media.

 

As Attorney General Jeff Sessions continues to lament what he views as a blight on society, a new study is showing that states with medical marijuana programs are seeing drastic reductions in opioid-related hospitalizations and overdoses.

From a Reuters article published Tuesday:

“In states that legalized medical marijuana, U.S. hospitals failed to see a predicted influx of pot smokers, but in an unexpected twist, they treated far fewer opioid users, a new study shows.

“Hospitalization rates for opioid painkiller dependence and abuse dropped on average 23 percent in states after marijuana was permitted for medical purposes, the analysis found. Hospitalization rates for opioid overdoses dropped 13 percent on average.”

The study, published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, was authored by Yuyan Shi, a public health professor at the University of California in San Diego. According to Reuters, Shi’s study is the fifth in recent years to demonstrate declines in opioid dependence in states where medical weed is legal.

Intrigued by the data, Dr. Esther Choo, an emergency medicine professor at Oregon Health and Science University, spoke to Reuters via email.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that battling the opioid epidemic will require a multi-pronged approach and a good deal of creativity,” Choo said. She was not involved with the study. “Could increased liberalization of marijuana be part of the solution? It seems plausible.”

One 2014 study showed opioid deaths dropped an average of 25 percent in states where medical marijuana is permitted, and data released just a month ago suggests that given the choice, many patients prefer weed over opioids as a painkiller.

The news of this latest study comes as a congressional committee announced it is opening an investigation into the pharmaceutical manufacturers of the nation’s five top-selling opioid products.

According to a statement released by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee, the investigation — to be headed by Democratic senator Claire McCaskill — will explore whether pharmaceutical corporations “have contributed to opioid over-utilization and overprescription.”

The investigation will purportedly be a “wide-ranging” one and will also include the marketing side of the industry. A recent report from the Associated Press, for instance, found makers of opioid painkillers outspend the gun lobby on campaign contributions and lobbying by a ratio of eight to one.

“All of this didn’t happen overnight,” McCaskill said of the opioid epidemic sweeping the United States. “[I]t happened one prescription and marketing program at a time.”

However, neither the mounting evidence of the medicinal uses for marijuana, nor calls from those within Trump’s own government to look into the true causes of the opioid epidemic, have seemed to sway the president’s top cop. Just last week, Jeff Sessions doubled down on his stance that marijuana is nothing short of a danger to society.

“I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana,” he said, “so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another.”

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