Tag Archives: Drugs

Guns, Pot, And Bernie Goetz

The Old Media in the form of the AP planted a doozie of misinformation regarding Bernie Goetz’s recent arrest for attempting to sell marijuana to a police officer. The article described Goetz as a “vigilante” and racist, the thugs he shot as “panhandlers,” and his gun as “illegal.” All of the characterizations are completely wrong and deceptive.

Frist, Goetz was not a vigilante, he was only defending himself. In 1984, Goetz was confronted by four youths demanding money. The thug uses a language of tone and body so that while his words may be asking for money, the real message is a threat. Goetz correctly understood the message and shot the youths rather than be robbed (a common crime on NY Subways at the time). The criminals had numerous run-ins with the law before and since the incident; they were not panhandlers, but rather Goetz was exercising his unalienable right to defend himself based on the natural right to live. A vigilante is one who proactively seeks his version of justice, but Goetz did not ask to be confronted.

The young men Goetz shot were black, so the AP implied Goetz must be racist. Goetz did not choose the race of the thugs who approached him. Goetz is not responsible for the fact that even today, blacks are strongly disproportionately responsible for violent crime in NYC. Goetz was not racist in summing up his confronters, and facts he could not know at the time proved his assessment right – they were thugs and criminals. These insights no doubt influenced Goetz’s jury to acquit him of all charges except for possession of an unlicensed gun – he spent the better part of a year in jail.

The AP may be nominally correct that Goetz’s gun was not legal, but he was breaking no valid law. Natural law and the US Constitution protect Goetz’s right to carry a weapon, so the NY law itself was illegal. Further, consider the ugly reality of the Subway at the time. In NYC, driving a car about town is a joke and taxi regulators ensure that at many times hailing a cab is a long shot at best, so the Subway is the only real option for most New Yorkers. The AP itself concedes that then there were 40 serious crimes per day in the Subway system. Goetz was essentially forced to enter a thug’s paradise several times per day. If the government wants to create gun-free zones, they should at least provide security, but the Subways offered danger in addition to filth and stifling heat. People like Goetz had to choose between breaking illegal gun laws and becoming victims.

After a few other controversies, Goetz has resurfaced for being busted selling a trivial amount of MJ to an undercover cop. The worm has turned here. Even though the right to self-defense is immeasurably more important than the right to consume intoxicants at will, NY does not understand. In NY, guns are even more illegal than in the 1980’s, but MJ is de facto legal. Anyone walking through parts of Central Park or down hipper cross-town sidewalks gets a regular whiff of the naughty weed. It is understood that MJ possession and consumption is to be accepted, although the NYPD continue to bust MJ holders as if they were child abusers. Public opinion has shifted away from Rockefeller drug prosecution and toward MJ legalization. Goetz is now a potential symbol of the stupidity of police dedicating undercover cops to busing $30 MJ sales, just as he was once a symbol of self-defense rights. The pro-MJ Left will not take his cause because they do not understand both issues are based on natural rights. Even when the Left is right, it is usually so for invalid reasons.

The recent Goetz radar-blip is further evidence that the OM and the Left in general are divorced from the principles upon which everyone should live – the first principles of the US’s founding documents. Goetz is an unlucky pawn in an ugly game of government control. Self-defense and selling an intoxicant to a willing adult are not crimes, and both the Left and Right should leave Goetz alone.

Ann Coulter Has A Point

Last week, conservative Ann Coulter took a swipe at libertarians, calling them “pussies” for their stance on marijuana. Coulter’s best qualities are her bluntness (get it?) and her willingness to fight. In her “pussies” comments, she argued that, since the US is a socialist welfare state, people’s choices regarding their lifestyles are her business – hence MJ should be illegal. Coulter has a point; socialism turns strangers into family. However, her conclusion that statism and central control are warranted is an abandonment of principle.

Libertarians come in several flavors, and nearly equally from left and right backgrounds. The actual Libertarian Party is dominated by barely reformed hippies and ideologues, who put drug policy front and center. Most libertarians, however, do not belong to the LP. While libertarians like GOP Sen. Rand Paul do not support the war on drugs, that issue is just an example in the spectrum of Constitutional abuses and overreaches by today’s government. Perhaps coincidentally, the Tea Party has embraced much of the constitutional libertarian platform of confining government to its enumerated powers.

When conservatives complain about the cost of providing services to immigrants and their children, libertarians blame welfare, not immigration. When conservatives like Coulter complain about the harm drugs do (never mind tobacco and booze), libertarians blame socialized medicine, not drugs. Perhaps Coulter is being pragmatic by acknowledging the US socialist family, but she is conceding this generation’s key battle and even the soul of the US by doing so.

Socialists refer to their subjects as family much as dictators refer to their subjects as their children. Under collectivism, the consequences of an individual’s bad choices (e.g. smoking, or drinking, or irresponsible debt) are borne by everyone. This creates what economists call a moral hazard. By mitigating the negative consequences of bad behavior, the deterrent is minimized. Why not borrow too much when the government will always bail me out? Why not smoke crack when food, shelter, and health care are available no matter how worthless drugs make me? Of course the government might outlaw crack, but the criminal deterrent has proven to be less effective than the personal ruin deterrent. The best policy regarding vices is for people to live with their decisions’ consequences, but socialism is a family where consequences are limited.

Coulter is a big sister who thinks MJ should be illegal so she does not have to pay for whatever negative consequences its users might incur. However, the socialist family is not one which libertarians wish to join. Banning drugs is ineffective at best, and the consequence of proscription might actually be more drug use based on decades’ long trends. Libertarians are not in favor of MJ, they are opposed to substituting personal responsibility for the socialist family. Liberals just like MJ for policy reasons. While MJ is a popular example and a clear policy argument, the issue is only an example of why the government should not be the master of a socialist family.

Still, Coulter has a point. The US is a socialist welfare state, and she is forced to be responsible for the bad choices of others. She is not wrong to expect good behavior from her wards. Perhaps Coulter has illuminated the key difference between conservatives and libertarians – Coulter is willing to be a member of today’s deeply flawed US socialist family, while libertarians are still willing to fight. As such a famous fighter, Ms. Coulter should try harder and expect a little more.

Bork’s Replacement

Yesterday the Hon. Robert Bork passed away. Bork was targeted politically and his Supreme Court nomination crushed because he was a Constitutional originalist (i.e. The Constitution means what it says in plain English based on the common sense language of the day – radical). The list of GOP Senators who voted against him is a who’s-who of RINO traitors to liberty: John Chafee (RI, socialized medicine), Bob Packwood (OR, not so bad, but don’t hit on your assistants outside the Oval Office), Arlen Specter (PA, wrong on nearly every issue every time. The worst GOP Senator ever), Robert Stafford (VT, a Prescott Bush statist), John Warner (VA, leftist, endorser of Dem politicians, USSR ‘détente’ apologist) and Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. (CT, endorsed Howard Dean for Pres.). Whenever Dems blast ‘politicizing’ the judiciary, remember that to them, Borking is a one way street, a street they invented.

Less well remembered is the failed Court bid of Bork’s replacement, the Hon. Douglas Ginsburg. He was forced to withdraw his name from consideration because of some minor ethical conflicts, but mostly because he had smoked Marijuana. Nobody accused Ginsburg of being a burnt-out chronic, a wake-and-bake hippie, or a dealer. No, Ginsburg had smoked the MJ most recently ten years prior to his nomination, and reportedly only on occasion prior to that. Yet, his aspirations were ruined by the scandalous disclosure.

Think on Ginsburg’s story, freedom lovers. A man with good potential had probably his highest goal in life taken away because he did what the past three Presidents are known also to have done. Shout Bits is going out on a limb and risking a lawsuit, but Pres. Clinton did indeed inhale. Further, there is credible evidence that the past three Presidents also enjoyed cocaine. By Pres. Obama’s own account, he smoked a lot of the evil weed and snorted a lot of the jazz salt.

Ginsburg was forced to withdraw because of the obvious conflict in adjudicating the drug laws he once violated as a recreational user. Nobody likes a hypocrite, except the past three two-term Presidents, each of which escalated the war on the very drugs they once enjoyed. Apparently the electorate is OK with such blatant hypocrisy after all.

Ginsburg’s story, freedom lovers, is a milepost on the road to restoring personal responsibility and liberty in the category of libation. Today, nobody would demand court nominees to have never smoked MJ. Indeed, short of someone as sober as Gov. Romney, people are skeptical when anyone claims to have never tried it.

Looking back 25 years, MJ’s place in the culture has undergone a sea-change. As always, the Federal Government is the last to get the message. In large part driven by federal policy, arrests for simple MJ possession continue at a record pace. States like WA and CO do not need looking after by a Federal Government that cannot pass a budget. The People do not need to be dictated how to lead their lives by Mayor Soda Fountain, AG Gun Runner, or Pres. Choom Gang. As distant and irrational as Ginsburg’s story seems today, perhaps so too will be the story of these nanny-state hypocrites after another 25 years.