Thursday, November 30, 2006

Kathryn Johnston Would Still be Alive in a Libertarian Society

Last week Kathryn Johnston was shot to death by police in her own home. Earlier this week her funeral was held. If Ms. Johnston had lived in a Libertarian soceity, she would likely still be alive. Here's why:

In a Libertarian society, drugs would have been legal. Therefore, there would have been no need for clandestine drug trades anywhere. They could occur whereever the drugs could be bought and sold legally, without having to hide from the public or the law.

This means that the police, local, state, and federal would have had no interest in who was buying or selling drugs. Just as they have no interest in who buys beer, Playboy magazine, or a pack of cigarettes. Note that there are still laws on the books about giving or selling these items to minors, but when was the last time you heard of someone being killed over a pack of cigarettes distributed to a minor?

This also means that the police are no longer motivated by seizure laws that grant them some of the possesions taken in drug raids, up to and including vehicles, cash, and homes. SO the incentive on risky raids for a potential return are highly diminished.

Ms. Johnston's neighborhood would have also been a safer place if it were a Libertarian community because the potential profit motives for the drugs would have long ago been removed. So much of crime is related to raising money to get drugs that many neighborhoods have had residents install burglar bars and doors to keep the thieves out. This is not an issue in a Libertarian community.

Finally, those that had drug problems would be able to get the help that they need without the fear of being incarcerated while seeking help. Which would lead to fewer drug addicts on the streets. Fewer addicts on the streets would be good for all involved.

Unfortunately, Ms. Johnston lived in a society where laws are passed that attempt to restrict individual rights. And the restriction of those rights can seemingly be ignored if the cause is the "right" one, which in this case originated as fighting the war on drugs. Yet as the truth continues to trickle out, we are learning that those who swore to uphold the law seemed to have no trouble breaking it to suit their needs.

These lessons should not be lost on us. We should not endanger the lives of residents or public servants by trying to enforce laws that would not exist in a libertarian society. We lose more than we gain when this is something we are willing to settle for. Ms. Johnston should not have been forced to sacrifice her law for the war on drugs, when our society also claims that we have freedom and choice. She did not have a choice as the police stormed her home.



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