In the summer of 2016, Ohio legalized medical marijuana, allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana for a wide range of health issues. Michigan would go on to legalize recreational marijuana in 2018. Illinois will be the eleventh state to legalize recreational marijuana when new legislation takes effect on January 1st, 2020. This means that two of Indiana’s neighbors have legalized marijuana for recreational uses, with a third legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. In Indiana, bills were brought forward to decriminalize or legalize marijuana for either medical or recreational purposes. However, these bills only saw their first readings, with none being brought to the floor for an actual vote.
By John Keller | United States
Coercive Paternalism can be defined as intervention in cases where people’s choices of the means to achieving their ultimate ends are confused. An argument of this nature, notably by Sarah Conly, rests on four main points: (1) Such a view promotes individuals actual goals. (2) Coercive Paternalism is effective. (3) The benefits are worth the cost. (4) Coercive Paternalism is efficient. Coercive Paternalism offers an ambiguous and unclear argument that ignores many of the complexities of the issues.
The Argument For Paternalism
A Coercive Paternalist would make an argument such as this: (1) People want to live long and healthy lives. (2) Eating processed foods and consuming drugs hinders people from living long and healthy lives. (3) Thus, the government must ban certain foods and drugs to promote the goal of the individual. Assuming the premise to be true, a rather noncontroversial claim, logically the next step is to examine the second step of the argument. Does consuming drugs hinder people from wanting to live long and healthy lives?
Examine, for instance, veteran suicide and veterans who deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Marijuana has been instrumental, if not vital, to veterans dealing with the mental complications involved with going into combat. By denying veterans drugs to promote the ‘individuals’ goals, they are actually exacerbating the mental complications of veterans and creating an environment in which veterans are forced to live shorter, mentally unhealthy lives as they tragically fall victim to the grip of suicide. Is this outcome the promotion of ‘long and healthy lives’? No, and thus Coercive Paternalism is unable to provide the needs of individual citizens.
The Failure of Coercive Paternalism
As it is unable to provide the needs of the individual citizens, it can not be effective. Paternalism itself is the idea in which the government must assume a role similar to that of your parent because the individual is inadequate to take of themselves and make good choices. Are any two individuals the same? Are any two children raised the same? Even siblings are often raised differently as a parent learns more, realizes mistakes, and adjust in real time to the needs of their children. The government, however, can not operate in this way on an individual level. Instead, they institute a policy under the basis of ‘one shoe fits all’. A clear example of this is common core education. With more money in the education system, improvement has been rare to come by. RealClear Education reports, “Between 2013 and 2017, only five jurisdictions logged improvements in 4th-grade math and just three in 8th-grade math.” As no two individuals develop the same, no government program can claim to be for the benefit of every citizen.
The theorized benefits of paternalism, that cannot apply to every citizen due to the nature of individuality, are not worth the cost. From 2013-2017, a total of $375,577,635,000 was spent federally, with an additional $840,757,185,970 spent in the same time frame by the states. In 2013, roughly 62,146,000 children went to school. That means that between 2013-2017, a total of $1,216,334,820,000 was spent on 62,146,000 school age children, or roughly $19,572.21 per student. As a result of paternalism, $1.2 trillion was spent to see only eight jurisdictions see an increase in math skills of America’s youth.
With the cost not being worth the near invisible benefits, Coercive Paternalism fails to also be effective. While it is not effective, it also fails to be efficient. Prohibition has historically failed to be efficient. The Eighth Amendment, passed in 1917 and ratified in 1919, was passed to prohibit the sales, transportation, importation, and exportation of “intoxicating liquors”, also known, more commonly, as alcohol. During the Prohibition Era, drinking remained constant. It is very likely that it not only stayed at the pre-prohibition levels but that drinking increased following the prohibition. When the government stopped sanctioning the legality of the alcohol industry and its services, it was forced to go into an underground state, run by speakeasies throughout the nation. The people reverted to the black market to get the products they desired, proving government regulation of the market to be inefficient. Furthermore, the government prohibition on the use of marijuana proved again to be a failure for the U.S government. Historically speaking, prohibition has always been ineffective.
Coercive Paternalism fails to promote the individual’s actual goals, is not effective, and is not worth the cost. The theory of Coercive Paternalism offers a simple answer to the complexities of society that fails to respect an individuals rights, needs, and the pursuit of happiness.
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By Nickolas Roberson | United States
The individual has been prominent throughout the entirety of human history, both in reality and mythology. In almost every instance of ancient culture, and even modern culture, there is the story of the hero facing the dragon. The hero isn’t represented by any group or collective, he represents Himself, the Individual. He is the culmination of domination and human will, the innate force to strive for achievement. This achievement could be happiness, freedom, or any other personal means. This hero’s goal is to slay the dragon and retrieve the lost gold or save the princess and kingdom. The dragon obviously represents evil, but what kind of evil? The answer is incredibly subjective. The abomination that is said dragon could be the collective that wishes to extinguish the flame of individuality, and it could very well be the flaws of human nature; in the Christian world, the dragon represents Satan, wickedness, or sin.
Ancient, archetypal stories that provide symbols and guidelines to living life beg the question: why is the individual important? Why should I, an ordinary human being, care about individuality? Without individuality, the core foundations of your life fall apart and your life loses its meaning. You become a lost soul without any personal guiding force in your life. Unfortunately, this has happened to quite a number of people in society today. They begin to lose their individuality and sense of Self, and adopt disgusting and weak, yet tantalizing, views of nihilism—they deem that life is meaningless, the void will consume all, and the wild, passionate flame of the Individual has been extinguished with no hope of coming to light again. In their eyes life is only, and will ever be, suffering.
Indeed, life is suffering. It’s full of poverty, sickness, sorrow, tyranny, and death. Yet we, the human race, prevail; we’ve been doing so for over a millennium. How? Through determination, willpower, and individuality. We steeled and fortified ourselves against the howling winds of extreme chaos and suffering. Through innovation, order, and freedom we established a foothold and prosperous society in the world. That is what these followers of nihilistic principles need to realize: yes, life is suffering, but it is your responsibility to find meaning in life. That meaning is found in being an individual, being determined, having willpower and by allowing human nature to run its course.
Discover and establish a balance of chaos and order in your life; be innovative, free, and find happiness. Allow your individuality to burn bright and run free, like a stallion running through a dew-filled prairie in the early morn. Fight against the endless suffering of life and defeat the dragons of evil.
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Nickolas Roberson | United States
The world as we know it has countless different ideologies and belief systems, each with its own stance on religion, politics, economics, social systems, and numerous other categories and theories. All of these systems provide instructions as to how to live your life, how to treat others, how to think and develop your own ideas and rhetoric. Ideologies provide a sense of order to your existence. However, these creeds and outlooks on human life are not always positive. A great number of these systems are nihilistic, bleak, pessimistic, deceptive, ignorant, spineless, or are downright evil. Some of these villainous philosophies include, but are most certainly not limited to, nihilism, institutionalism, authoritarianism, and possibly the most heinous of them all, collectivism. How is this economic, political, and life-guiding philosophy and its corresponding philosophies so malignant? There are a multitude of reasons, such as the devaluation of the individual and the destruction of natural rights and liberties, but one of the most important notions of collectivism is this: it targets the weak.
What exactly is collectivism? As defined by Merriam-Webster, it is “a political or economic theory advocating collective control especially over production and distribution; emphasis on collective rather than individual action or identity.” It is broken down into a plethora of sub-categories, such as socialism, communism, Marxism, Maoism, Leninism, and a myriad of other such collectivist and totalitarian systems. All of these ideologies and dogmas despise the individual, deeming it as the core determinant of nearly all problems in human society and history, such as poverty, war, inequality, etc. The existence of the collectivist theories is accredited to the poor and weak in society becoming envious towards those who were of higher power and standing than them. They lead to major human catastrophes, such as genocide, great purges, mass man-made famines, and disease. Examples of these catastrophes include the Great Purge in the Soviet Union, the Holodomor, the Great Leap Forward in Maoist China, and many more. In total, collectivism, specifically totalitarian collectivism, has killed at least 50 million people in the past 150 years.
Who are these weak individuals who are targeted by collectivism? They are the feeble-minded, the lying and duplicitous, the bottom-feeders, and those who lack the determination, willpower, and strength to live their lives as true individuals. The only way they can live their lives is to depend on the production and work of others. That is what collectivism offers: instead of being an individual and working to better your own life, you will be a member of the group which will do the work for you instead; you become another cog in the machine.
How does collectivism accomplish this? First, of course, by destroying individualism and the wills of the people in whatever land or nation it wishes to conquer. Once that objective is fulfilled, the collectivist government implements programs and policies that make the people dependent on government, such as social welfare programs and general equality of outcome. These people lose what drives them in life, as they are brainwashed into believing that government, a gluttonous, parasitic mother, will fulfill their every need. The collectivist government takes away all that these people produce, utilizing it for what government needs and wants and then distributing the leftovers to the hungry masses. Unfortunately, these weak people buy into this brainwashing. Instead of defeating the dragon of collectivism, the weak attempt to appease and feed the dragon, believing it will ignore or even protect them. In reality, they’re on the path to their own demise, when the voracious dragon will grow in strength and eventually consume and burn the village, the people, and society as a whole.
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By John Keller | Florida
Joe Hannoush is the Libertarian candidate for District Twenty-Five of the Florida House of Representatives. He has been involved with libertarian politics since 2011 and seeks to bring that change to the state of Florida.
Keller: With a plethora of career options, what inspired you to seek a career in politics?
Hannoush: I am not pursuing a career in politics per se. I want to do what I can to inform others of a better solution to issues we face today. Running as a candidate for elected office is a great way to spread that message. I want to be the change I want to see. I am tired of complaining without offering a solution. I didn’t like the choices I had on my ballot, so I gave myself another option to vote for!
Keller: Many people when they think of government they think of Congress or the presidency. Why is politics at the state level, and in the state House of Representatives, so important and motivated you to get involved?
Hannoush: There is a saying “all politics is local”. To a certain degree, I agree. When it comes to the everyday things, it is usually the local government decisions that have the largest impact on an individuals life.
Keller: For over 150 years the United States has been locked in the two-party duopoly. What turned you on to the Libertarian Party?
Hannoush: In 2011, I took an online political quiz www.isidewith.com. The results told me my views most closely agreed with was the Libertarian Party. So I did more research on their platform and looked into the presidential candidate on the Libertarian Party ticket, Gary Johnson. I liked him a lot and found I agree on almost everything. So I voted for Gary in 2012 and the rest is history!
Keller: Being a swing state, Florida has both strong Democratic and Republican support, as well as significant moderate support. Why is a new voice, such as a libertarian, necessary in the two-party system in Florida?
Hannoush: The two-party system is not a good one even if the two parties are Libertarian and Anarchist. I believe in more choices and I know others do as well. I don’t care if I agree with other political parties or not, they deserve to get the same media exposure and debate and ballot access as the Republicans and Democrats currently do.
Keller: Florida is often brought to the political forefront, and were put into the national spotlight during the sanctuary city debate, a debate that still exists today. Where do you stand on your critical issue?
Hannoush: I believe an individual, whether they are a citizen of the United States or not, deserve the same freedoms I have. My parents left an oppressive government and came to the United States shortly before I was born. Because of that freedom to act for the betterment of life, liberty, and happiness, I have a freer life. I want that opportunity to exist for others as well.
Keller: Our Founding Fathers even disagreed on how to interpret the Constitution, shown in the Federalist vs. Anti-Federalist debates. What is your interpretation of the Constitution, and how does that influence your view on government?
Hannoush: My view of the Constitution is what I believe the Founding Fathers generally intended. That is that individuals have inherent rights and the Constitution instructs the Government on how to preserve those rights for the individual.
Keller: Libertarians tend to believe less government is better government. What is one area of government, however, you would like to see operating?
Hannoush: I do believe that national defense is the responsibility of the government.
Keller: Branching off of the last question, what is one area you think there should be cutbacks or even elimination in the state of Florida?
Hannoush: Florida, being a “swing” or “purple” state has led to the two major political parties here to be very divisive. There is too much power in the “leadership” of the political parties. No one is defending the rights of the people. The letter next to a person’s name holds more power than what that individual believes. I want to end partisan politics in Florida. A candidate that is giving the libertarian message will win every time.
Keller: What can the people of District 25 expect should you be elected?
Hannoush: That I will be a voice for the individual. I won’t vote based on what party leadership or lobbyist agenda is being pushed.
Keller: If someone was interested in getting involved or donating, how can they reach out to your campaign?
Keller: Do you have any final remarks for the readers?
Hannoush: I am currently pricing campaign materials and need as much funding as possible to help spread the message. Please donate to my campaign at paypal.me/joehannoush and follow my campaign at facebook.com/joehannoush and email [email protected] Thank you!
I would like to thank Joe Hannoush for his time. Be sure to visit his website and get involved!