THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 808, February 8, 2015
Solved problems are a dire threat to politicians
who subsist on promising to solve problems they
themselves have usually caused.
Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
The mind of a prohibitionist is something that I have never been able to comprehend. You would think that with the track record that prohibition measures have had on society, only a small fringe element would support such a thing. Yet there are people on both sides of the political spectrum who support prohibition in some form or another.
Whenever I think about prohibition, I am always reminded of the stories I heard about my Great Grandfather Gangol who emigrated from Hungary to the great USA in the 1920's. Like many immigrants at the time he wasn't the most educated nor did he speak English. Despite this he was smart enough to figure out why prohibition was and will always remain a colossal failure.
When he arrived he made his way to one of those little stations that would teach immigrants the fundamentals of living in America, one of which was the English language. They also taught basic economics, such as supply and demand. I am not sure about the exact moment that it happened, but the light bulb in my grandfather's head lit up when he applied supply and demand to the nation's ban on hooch. While the government continued its war on booze, there would be a greater demand for cocktails, which meant greater profits for those filling that demand. Pay attention to this because this will play a part in the conclusion of my article.
What amazes me the most is the way that a prohibitionist will admit that the measures have failed in at least one aspect, but believe that it will somehow work against the very thing that they want to see eliminated. The first person who comes to mind is Emily Miller, a columnist for the Washington Post who has done a serious of articles on Washington DC's gun laws. She also wrote a book titled, Emily Gets Her Gun, where she describes the amount of red tape that she had to go through in order to legally own a gun in the nation's capital.
You would think that somebody as seemingly intelligent as Miller would be able to see the dangers of prohibition first hand with all the hurtles that she had to jump through in order to obtain a legal firearm in Washington DC. Unfortunately that was proven not to be the case when she was a guest on the now defunct Independents. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the programming of The Fox Business Channel, The Independents was a talking heads show that had three libertarian leaning hosts. When Miller first appeared on the show the discussion revolved around the difficulties she had in exercising her Second Amendment rights in Washington. Miller was then asked about her stance on Marijuana legalization, which she was against since it's hazardous to our health. Apparently she didn't realize that gun prohibitionists use that exact same logic. They want to eliminate guns because they believe that they are hazardous to the health of society. Then we have leftists like Bill Maher who acknowledge that the drug war has been an utter failure, but can never see the same fallacies in the victim disarmament policies that they advocate. If they know that drug prohibition has been a total failure, then what makes them think that they are going to have better luck with guns?
What none of them seem to realize is that life isn't like Ella Enchanted. For those of you who have never heard that name, it was a not so good Ann Hathaway movie, about a girl living in a fairytale world who is cursed to obey every order given to her for being such a disobedient child. Unfortunately for her the curse continues well into her adulthood and she is forced to obey orders that serve no other purpose but to degrade her. The reason why I bring it up is because prohibitionists seem to think that life is like this crappy Ann Hathaway movie. They think that simply passing a decree prohibiting certain possessions or behaviors is somehow going to make people stop right in their tracks and do their bidding. They don't realize that laws are not magic. They don't actually make the things that we don't like disappear. Sometimes they make things worse.
The war on booze gave us organized crime. The drug wars have turned America's inner-cities into war zones. Gun bans seem to only disarm those who are willing to obey them, which makes them easy prey to those who refuse to obey. The worst aspects of prostitution happen because the workers of the world's oldest profession are forced to work in the shadows. When one is forced to work outside the law they have to forfeit any protection that it may provide. It makes them easy prey for rapists and serial killers, which forces them to accept abusive pimps as their protectors. I have always found it amusing that many radical feminists believe that pornography exploits women and therefore it should be banned. What they don't realize is that a ban would only force the industry to go underground. If they think the women in the current industry are exploited, just wait until the industry goes back to the days of creating underground stag films. At least in the above ground industry, the actresses have unions and the ability to tell the director to piss off if he asks them to do something that they may find objectionable. It's doubtful that they will have the same luxuries once the industry is driven underground.
As I said earlier, my great grandfather's newfound discovery would later play a part in the conclusion of this article. As soon as my grandfather figured out how profitable prohibition could be, he opened his own speakeasy. It was quite legal of course. At least that was what the police kept telling him every time they showed up for their bribe. What I find so unbelievable about my grandfather's story is that while he wasn't the most educated man, he was able to figure out what so many Ivy League educated people still don't (or refuse to) understand. As long as you have a government dumb enough to create contraband, there will always be a demand for the forbidden fruit. Then it is only a matter of time before somebody steps in to fill that demand. I can almost hear my Grandfather Gangol laughing from his grave at the willfully ignorant fools who continue their misguided crusades.
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