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December 2006
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Libertarians and the Drug War

I’ve never really felt the need to explain the position that libertarians should have regarding the drug war. In fact, in my FAQ, all I say is:

Well, duh! If you need to ask, you’re probably not a libertarian.

One particular recent event, however, is muddying the waters… the conversion of Bob Barr to the Libertarian party. And as Mona notes, this is the same Bob Barr who was once a Congressman Drug Warrior:

Suggesting the depth of hostility toward the notion of legal drugs, Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., asked whether anti-racketeering laws could be used to prosecute people conspiring to legalize drugs.

That’s right. He suggested that the government use RICO to go after people like… me.
And now he’s a spokesperson for the Libertarian party. What a conversion!
Or is it?
Jacob Sullum at Hit and Run notes that Barr avoids the topic in his recent interview with David Weigel and says:

… But it’s hard for me to see how a libertarian (or Libertarian) can support drug prohibition. Contrary to what he says in the interview, this is no “minor disagreement.” Not only does the war on drugs directly violate the basic right to control one’s body and mind; it leads to exactly the sort of wide-ranging civil liberties violations, especially in connection with Fourth Amendment rights, that so concern Barr when it comes to the war on terrorism…

I believe it’s possible to be a pro-life Democrat. You could even be a gay Republican. But a pro-drug war Libertarian? It’s oxymoronic.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens if Barr is pinned down on this issue.

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