L. Neil Smith's
Number 203, December 16, 2002


[Letters to the editor are welcome on any and all subjects. To ensure their acceptance, please try to keep them under 500 words. Sign your letter in the text body with your name and e-mail address as you wish them to appear.]

Letter from Bill St. Clair

Letter from Brian Gross

Letter from Jeffrey Schwartz

Letter from Mimbreno Chiracahua

Letter from David Maharaj

Letter from Rob Bass

Letter from Bill Westmiller

Letter from Carl Bussjaeger

Letter from Rick & Kathy


I apparently forgot to sign my letter last week. Let it be known that I was the author of the "Letter from Unknown" in TLE 202 expressing my opinion that the Fatherland, er... Homeland Security Act does not require a permit to obtain ammunition hand-loading materials.

- - -

I made a pledge to honor Bill Stone's request to refuse to cooperate in the creation of the TIA system. I'd like to declare my ownership of that pledge. I'd also like anyone else who further analyzes the KGB act to know how to contact me.

Bill St. Clair

Why Legalize Drug Use?

The Libertarian Party and others have advocated the legalization of drug use. Their argument is activity that harms no one other than one's self should be legal. They also argue that anyone in opposition to this idea is only interested in imposing a moral standard upon everyone else. The irony of this argument is that every political group is trying to inflict its morality on everyone else. Everyone wants their morality to be the law of the land. In that respect the only difference between political parties is their morality. One party thinks it is moral to redistribute income another doesn't. One party thinks it is moral to own private property and another doesn't.

The Libertarian Party thinks drug use only affects the person who consumes the drugs. The usual example is, what harm is there in someone smoking marijuana? The problem with the question is marijuana is not the only drug they want to legalize. They want all drug use made legal. That would include heroin and opium to name a few. What harm is there is someone taking hard drugs? Plenty! All drug usage costs everyone money. Even those who don't use drugs have to contribute money to the drug users. There is the cost of law enforcement in the form of taxes. This has two parts. One is the enforcement of the drug laws. The other is the cost of crimes committed by the drug users to acquire money to support their drug usage. There is the additional cost each must pay for health insurance. Those policies cover treatment for recovery from drug abuse. They also cover treatment for illnesses incurred from drug use such as AIDS and overdose. That cost also affects the cost of the products we purchase because the employer pays a percentage of that cost for us. Then there is time loss on the job from drug use. This is paid by employers through sick leave which increases the price we all pay for goods and services. There are also the increases in taxes to cover welfare for those who can't work because of drug use and for their families. There is the cost of human life for those who die from drug use. There may be more costs associated with drug use but these are sufficient for the point I am trying to make.

Now, if drug use were legalized today what would change? The costs associated with the enforcement of the drug laws would go away. All other costs would increase with the increased usage of drugs because they are now legal. With drug use legal, non-drug users would still be footing the bill for drug users. What is the answer to the question where is the harm? The harm is in my wallet. Since I am picking up the tab for these people I should have the right to say if it should be allowed or not. Or more to the point, whether I am willing to pay for their "right" to pick my pocket. It has nothing to do with my morality other than I believe it is immoral to steal. Everyone is being financially harmed by drug use.

The Libertarians also want to discontinue welfare. That would lower more of the costs, except they don't tie the legalization of drug use with the elimination of welfare. They would welcome the legalization of drug usage without tying it to anything else. The problem of higher product costs would still exist.

I don't see how the legalization of drug use solves the problem with drug use. But then you need to see the problem first.

Brian Gross [jubilee131@juno.com]

In Regards ["Letter from Derek Benner", issue 202]

Yes, it can be done, but only if we programmers get together and plan this out, including going out of our way to support every aspect of the TIA system. We can do it. The question is; Are we willing?

Check out : [This Link]

(It's not as nice as the fiction Mr. Smith writes, but it does cover Mr. Benner's topic pretty well.)

Jeffrey Schwartz [jeffreyschwartz@comcast.net]

A couple of letters to the editor in TLE #201 made sense. In an amazing burst of insight two readers actually understand this bit of reality: If the American nerds refuse to work on the new OTIA, the software companies will just import people from other countries.

Williams Stone's proposed strike will be an all around win-win from the corporations who will get more obedient employees costing less money. The irony is that libertarians with their devotion to open borders and unrestricted immigration cannot oppose such a program. Once again, libertarian principles will serve to undermine freedom instead of advancing it.

Mimbreno Chiracahua [mchiracahua@yahoo.com]

Dear Mr. Taylor

The Supreme Court of Canada has recently ruled that inmates of prisons have the right to vote. I would like to ask the very well informed readers of TLE their opinion: Do you think criminals should have the right to vote?

David Maharaj [cougar@echo-on.net]

With regard to my comments on the masthead definition, E.J. Totty and Curtis Howland both miss the point about advocating the initiation of force. They refer to examples in which advocacy is equivalent to initiating force or is the first step in initiating force. Are there such cases? Of course. The problem is that there are also cases where advocacy is not an initiation or the first step in initiating or tantamount to initiating force. When your neighbor says "I think the cigarette tax is too low," he is advocating an initiation of force. When someone here says "I think the federal government should do only the things allowed to it in the Constitution," he is advocating the initiation of force, since initiation of force (levying taxes among many other functions) is allowed by the Constitution. Despite the fact that these people are advocating the initiation of force, they are not themselves initiating it nor are they doing anything they do not have a right to do, however wrong-headed on their part such advocacy may be.

Totty and Howland also seem to have problems with the example of forcibly carrying a young child to the doctor. Neither of them really manages to make their concern clear, but the point was simple. Force is being initiated against the child, and it is, under readily imaginable circumstances, not wrong of the parent to act in that way. The masthead definition, however, says "no one has the right, under any circumstances, to initiate force against another human being." Those two cannot be reconciled except with ludicrous claims like "children aren't really human beings" or "it's always wrong to force a child to go to the doctor." The better course is not to try to reconcile them, but to give up the masthead definition for the absurdity that it is.

Howland adds that when I pointed out that the definition is self- contradictory in that it allows the same person to be classified both as being and as failing to be a libertarian, "[w]ith these words, Mr. Bass defines a hypocrite, not a libertarian." Perhaps -- except that it is not my definition that does so. It's the one on the masthead.

Last, Totty points out that I haven't offered an alternative. That's true enough. I don't know of a ringing definition that gets everything right about what libertarians do or don't believe in the space of a few sentences. What I do know is that the masthead definition quite certainly gets things wrong. About all it's good for is convincing people that libertarians don't think very clearly.

Rob Bass [amosapient@yahoo.com]


Thanks for Lehr Duquesne's interesting proposals to amend the Constitution. His most recent proposal, regarding DC Statehood, has left me a little puzzled. Why does anybody LIVE in the District of Columbia?

My understanding was that the original intent was to allocate space for government operations, not residential dwellings. Granted, the original 10-miles-square was a lot of space for office buildings, but why not resolve the problem of DC representation by simply redrawing the borders of the district and giving all residential land to either Maryland or Virginia? The District of Columbia would ONLY be government offices and facilities: PERIOD.

NO residents. NO representation. NO city. NO 'government' of DC at all. Seems to me a win-win all around.

Bill Westmiller [westmiller@aol.com]

Re: Item #5 in issue #202.

I have recently bought 2 guns from internet auctions on , and paid for them with Paypal, and had no problems.

Edwin Clements [clw018636@yahoo.com]

Hi John,

I'm happy to pass on some information from Juli Bednarzyk, with the Second Amendment Sisters: SAS is moving PayPal from the anti-defense blacklist to their "You Decide" category, with links to both points of view.

I still believe that PayPal is only concerned about the legal responsibilities resulting from being classed as a firearms dealer, but I think Juli and SAS are handling this fairly.

I'd like to publicly thank Juli for working with me on this.

Carl Bussjaeger [bussjaeger@free-market.net]

Just in case you didn't know about this, and just in case you'd be interested in casting a vote for Free-Market.net's book of the year (guess which one we like best) -- please go to this site and vote for "Freedom Book of the Year."


Rick & Kathy [Rick@privacyalert.us]

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