Tag: Alcohol

Agency is Libertarian. Marijuana and Alcohol Aren’t.

By Ryan Lau | @agorists

The time is ten past three, and John Doe is enjoying himself. A college student, some older friends invited him to a massive party for the first time. However, John is not likely to remember many of the events of the night, for at that party, he consumed a rather unsafe amount of alcohol. He also ingested some edibles and, without realizing a thing, fought his best friend.

A fictional character, of course, John represents the loss of agency that a mind-altering substance commonly brings. Too many in the real world fall victim to John’s same situations, whether at parties, at a formal social gathering, or crying alone at night. The many Johns of the world are victims of lost agency.

Naturally, agency in this sense of the word is considerably different than its common use. Essentially, agency is the capacity of an actor to act consciously in a certain situation. In other words, agency is a form of personal responsibility, a trait essential to libertarianism. Drugs and other mind-altering substances, on the other hand, are antithetical to the same doctrine. As they rob people of their sense of agency, they are detriments to a free society.

Commonly, supporters of libertarianism state that the movement is about doing what so ever makes you happy. They often attack the state, saying that it robs that people of their right to live freely. In a broad sense, they are not wrong. However, they miss what is perhaps the most essential part of this message, the thing that makes freedom a sustainable goal: agency.

A world without agency will quickly dissolve into pure chaos, and there is no denying this. In modern society, the vast majority of people know that it is wrong to kill and steal from others. Also, they recognize the various social norms that we as a world adopt. These range from things as simple as wearing proper clothing, to situations as complex as how to behave in a romantic relationship. All such cases require a clear head and a sense of responsibility.

When people abandon this sense, they are often no longer aware of their own actions. In a sense, they are acting on the terms of something else besides themselves. Without a doubt, society condemns forced action between individuals. When one person holds a lethal weapon to the head of another and says to act, we know that is wrong, as it robs someone of their agency, and ability to freely act on their own terms.

Yet, we seldom are able to apply this logic beyond the confines of humans. Simply put, a human is not the only thing capable of robbing someone of their agency. An alcoholic or drug addict has little more say over their actions than does the person with a gun to his or her head. In fact, the situations are, in many ways, nearly identical.

When someone is addicted to a drug, it of course is quite hard to quit. The hardships range from physical to mental, and both can be viciously strong. Many people hooked on hard drugs need them to live their normal, day to day lives. By giving in to this power, they lose their sense of agency. Mental struggles can be nearly as difficult. Though no physical addiction exists for some drugs, such as marijuana, this does not mean a mental dependency cannot form. When it does, it can be incredibly difficult to break.

As a result, people using these substances often act much differently than they otherwise would. It is no secret that alcohol, for example, can cause severe anger. All addictions cause a compulsion to continue feeding them. In many cases, this leads to lying, sneaking, or even stealing to continue the path. Stealing does not occur in a truly free world.

Now, some may argue that these actions are extreme measures, and that moderation is the key in order to avoid them. While one can safely use in moderation, the fact of the matter is that most people simply will not do so. Yes, one can wisely stick to a drink or two and preserve agency.

However, it is better to say that none at all is the best approach, rather than condoning small amounts. With the latter, it is inevitable that people with different levels of will and tolerance will become addicted. Obviously, substance abuse has caused the destruction of countless families and lives. But, it is still important to note that a lack of agency, rather than the drugs themselves, are the real issues. Just as some can safely use in moderation, others can dangerously become addicted to other things besides drugs or alcohol.

Society should not draw the line at alcohol or marijuana or hard drugs. Instead, it should focus on eradicating addiction through recovery programs. All such programs should make clear that a clean life involves living with proper agency.

Thus, it is imperative that we recognize agency as a central tenet of freedom. Without it, freedom has little meaning, and will not last. Without legal pressure, another force must exist to maintain order in society. That force is agency. With it, we can truly set up a model of lasting freedom.


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2018: The Year to Legalize Marijuana

By Nick Hamilton | USA

Legalizing marijuana needs to happen in 2018.

Now, I know exactly what you’re thinking. “Marijuana is bad for our kids.” “Marijuana is bad in general!”

Well, it’s really not.

In 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there were 33,171 alcohol-induced deaths. That’s 33,171 more deaths than cannabis had. Yes, you read that right. Not ONE death in 2016 was attributed to the use of marijuana, an illegal drug, however, 33,171 deaths were attributed to alcohol. You’d think that with those statistics, alcohol would be illegal and marijuana would be legal. While a whopping 63,500 deaths attributed to drug overdose, cannabis had ZERO deaths from the drug itself.

However, what not many people consider is the economic value of legalizing hemp, the biggest one being paper. Hemp has been used for paper since the Western Han Dynasty, back in 200 BCE. Not to mention, our founding fathers even used hemp as an alternative to paper. Here’s a fun fact: the Declaration of Independence was actually written on hemp paper. Not to mention, marijuana usually isn’t cheap. Imagine if people were legally allowed to make sales legally of marijuana. Imagine if marijuana was legalized and bought as much as beer and wine. Our economy would be through the roof! Not to mention, paper companies, especially small ones, could use this legalization to their advantage in lifting their businesses off the ground, ensuring that they can buy hemp at a lower cost, processing needs would be lower, and they’d have very high quality paper. So, in a way, this could help small businesses out a lot.

Oh, and that state with all of that cool skiing? Colorado? Yeah, they’ve legalized marijuana. And during the FIRST HALF of 2017 ALONE, marijuana has earned $750,000,000 in total, earning the state an extra $116M in spending money, according to an analysis by the Cannabist, which you can read here.

That’s not just some loose pocket change, my friend.

However, many people forget this, and say that marijuana is bad for you, and that the federal government should keep it as is.

But let’s analyze this for a second. Why should the federal government tell us what we can and can’t put in our bodies? Someone hitting a blunt isn’t putting someone else’s life in danger, as we’ve seen from the CDC report. And if marijuana was really as bad as many say it is, why do hospitals have prescription rights for it? Why would this harmful drug have any place in the field of medicine? Even when it was banned, science backed up the strong fact that marijuana is not nearly as bad as some of the things that are legal in this country. Back in the 1930’s, the newly formed Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) led by Harry Anslinger asked 30 of the country’s top scientists if marijuana was actually as bad as the businesses said it was. 29 out of the 30 said that it was not, however the FDN used that one scientist in order to manipulate their claims and say that it was “backed by science.” And this same science also concludes that marijuana can help fight off cancer cells, and help prevent HIV from turning into AIDS. 

Here we are, almost 100 years later. Here we are, looking back and seeing similarities. Similarities that show that marijuana is in fact not nearly as bad as the majority of conservatives say it is.

Let’s analyze THAT for a second.

Conservatives tend to lean against the legalization of marijuana. I’m one of the few conservatives as a matter of fact that is sitting here calling for legalization. But when you look at the values, shouldn’t conservatives be calling for legalization? Shouldn’t conservatives not want the federal government to be intervening with possible economic strides? Shouldn’t conservatives not want the federal government trying to dictate how we live our daily lives? I thought the whole idea of conservatism was the principle of having a smaller government, and keeping government out of economic affairs as much as possible. So why in the world should conservatives be calling for a plan that hurts our economy and keeps the government in our business?

Now, I’m not a smoker myself. I’m not saying that parents should start giving their kids weed as a stocking stuffer. However, next time you hear someone say that marijuana doesn’t have a place in America, refer them to this article. This article has pretty much debunked every case against marijuana with scientific facts, and in addition has provided scenarios beneficial to this country that would most likely occur if it was legalized.

Therefore, marijuana should be legalized. Now.

Was Murray Rothbard a Sexist?

By Mason Mohon | USA

Multiple times throughout the years, Murray Rothbard has criticized many women-oriented movements. To anyone first stepping into libertarianism, this is a seemingly obvious red flag. One of the most pronounced and influential libertarian theorists of modern times has literature rife with what looks like sexism. Who in their right mind could support the teachings of a man who was against the women’s suffrage movements of the 1830’s and stood against the women’s liberation movements in the 1970’s? Should Rothbard be completely disregarded for his sexist comments?

In short, not at all. There are two main writings by Rothbard I would like to focus on, and these two writings are writings usually cited when people are making accusations of sexism. The first of these is his essay Origins of the Welfare State in America and his article Against Women’s Lib, which can be found here and here respectively.

In the first place, Rothbard’s essay Origins of the Welfare State in America should be focused on. The intent of the essay was to make an analysis as to how the welfare state has expanded, hence its name. Right off the bat, we can see that Murray Rothbard did not title this essay “Why Women are Bad.” Rather, the article’s entire intent was to analyze how the welfare state arose.

The reason people see this article as a sexist one is first that of the section titled “Yankee Women: The Driving Force.” What this shows us immediately that Rothbard was linking a women’s movement to the impacts of the welfare state, rather than the impact be women’s rights itself. This legion of Yankee women strongly pushed for the right to vote, because they knew that they would be the first to the ballot box, seeing as that Catholic women saw their place as an individual who is the homemaker. The Catholic women would not care about political issues, while the Yankee women would, and the first thing on their agenda was prohibition.

Susan B. Anthony, an ardent women’s suffragist, was also the founder of the first women’s temperance movement. In the early 1870’s, this spurred into a large organized movement, with “Women’s Crusades” taking to the streets. These marches became widespread, but rather than marching against a president, they were marching for dangerous prohibitionist political action. According to Rothbard, though, this wasn’t the end to it, for in the following decade “the WCTU was pushing, throughout states and localities, for a comprehensive statist program for government intervention and social welfare.” These female suffragist movements didn’t want to be able to vote just for the sake of equality. Rather, their goal was political action, most notably prohibitionism, which was disastrous for American society, and the welfare state, which has also had absolutely horrible impacts.

Clearly, Murray Rothbard was not criticizing the ability for women to have equal rights with men. Rather, he was against the political action immediately following the success of these movements. The alcohol prohibition era is looked at fondly by very few, so why are its most staunch historical supporters held in such high esteem? If someone is a supporter of equal rights solely for the sake of the perpetuation of political violence, they are no hero in my book, and neither are they in Rothbard’s.

Moreover, Murray Rothbard’s article titled Against Women’s Lib should be discussed. He opens the article by comparing it to environmentalist movements in that they were both making a sudden surge in the 1970’s. One other similarity should be made clear, and that is why Rothbard opposed them. Murray Rothbard was very against environmentalist movements, not because he hated the environment, but because all of their proposed solutions were phenomenally statist. The same holds true for Murray Rothbard on women’s rights; he doesn’t hate women, but he is against the movement for reasons within the movement itself, not its ultimate goal.

The Women’s Liberation movement at the time was eerily similar to modern feminism in that it is vague and no specific adherence other than a fight against sexism. Today, feminists are the declared enemy of the patriarchy, and it was the same idea in Rothbard’s time. There was a faceless entity of sexist oppression which was being attacked by a mob that had no specific agenda except to defeat it, and whatever happens between point A of the status quo and point B of destroying the patriarchy is acceptable.

Rothbard made the claim that the oppressors are staying strangely silent, attempting to make the point that no institution of oppression exists. The ‘patriarchy’ has never made any official statement. Ever. Because it can’t, for it does not exist.

The similarities to Women’s Liberation and modern feminism do not end there, though. Rothbard faced his own time’s wage gap, which was much larger at the time. At the time, reports were that women only made 58% of what men make, rather than today’s 80%. He quickly made the economic explanation for this occurrence, debunking the idea that it is because of a shadow oppressor.

The strongest attack, though, comes in Rothbard’s defense of capitalism, which is as follows:

It should be emphasized that, in contrast to the Women’s Lib forces who tend to blame capitalism as well as male tyrants for centuries-old discrimination, it was precisely capitalism and the “capitalist revolution” of the 18th and 19th centuries that freed women from male oppression, and set each woman free to find her best level. It was the feudal and pre-capitalist, pre-market society that was marked by male oppression; it was that society where women were chattels of their fathers and husbands, where they could own no property of their own, etc. Capitalism set women free to find their own level, and the result is what we have today.

Clearly, Murray Rothbard has never articulated any disdain for females as a category of humanity. His attacks on the suffrage movement were not based on its goal of the ability for women to be able to vote, but rather, they were well founded on distaste for prohibition and welfare. Furthermore, Rothbard attacked the Women’s Liberation movement for the same reason libertarians widely attack feminism today; Women’s Lib and feminism are ill-defined, turning them into destructive societal forces rife with economic fallacy. These two Rothbardian writings should not be a turnoff when looking for liberty, and Murray Rothbard should not be seen as a sexist woman hater.

Historic: Minnesota Lifts Sunday Liquor Ban

By Austin Cherkas | Minnesota

History is very important. We learn from it and we teach it. What is more important than understanding history is to make history–and Minnesota just had a historic day on July 2, 2017. Alcohol can be sold on Sundays. As America’s independence day rolls up, Minnesota is celebrating its independence from traditional values.

Minnesota entered the Union as the 32nd state on May 11, 1858, and almost immediately established a ban on alcohol purchases on Sunday. The reason for a specifically Sunday ban comes from religion, Christianity. In the Christian faith, Sunday is a day of rest, which plays into banning liquor stores. The early people of Minnesota believed that people who drink on “the lord’s day” were up to no good and established moral/religious laws to counteract such misdeeds. What happened in return is that many went outside of the state or bent the rules in order to drink on Sundays.

Early March of 2017 showed some good bipartisan feelings. Both the State House of Representatives and the State Senate swiftly passed the legalization of liquor sales on Sundays. Governor Mark Dayton (D) signed the bill with little to no hesitation.

Minnesota became the 39th state to join a more free society, on July 2, 2017, they began selling liquor. Many Minnesotans were excited and anyone outside on that hot day could see the masses of happy people entering the liquor store for the first time on a Sunday. Some stores had tents set up and gave away free food and liquor samples.

In an interview with Gary, owner of Rogers Wine & Spirits said, “People are very excited to buy today, though I’m not sure if it will continue to be like this every Sunday”. When asked about any predictions on any business numbers, Gary responded with, “I can’t really give accurate information at this time, what I can say is that people are buying in bulk today and that isn’t a normal trend. I have talked to store owners in Colorado and they say that Sunday sales are lower than any other weekday”.

A new step into a less traditional, the freer market might be a starting step for Minnesota. Legalizing liquor sales on Sunday might only be the beginning of more action to free markets and to deregulate businesses on social issues. One thing we can really see now, however, is a raised glass and a toast to better days!