The impulse to ban

This is just a little observation regarding how quick we are to rush to the assumption that a government ban is an appropriate solution to any problem.

I was reading a non-drug-war-related piece over at The Reality-Based Community (about cell phone use while driving and a train accident somewhere) and had a comment exchange that I found telling in this regard.

Pete Guither says:

I find it interesting that you seem to combine two very separate thoughts into one in this post. The first thought is that cell phone use is a dangerous distraction, don’t do it (just turn it off). The second thought is that legislation is needed. Yet no attempt is made to connect the two.

This is just an observation, not necessarily a criticism — after all, you may have independently considered the evidence and concluded that legislation is the proper course and just felt that this wasn’t the post to share that information. It seems to me that a proper intellectual analysis requires that we establish 1. that legislation would solve or significantly reduce the problem, and 2. that legislation is the only, or at least the best, solution to do so. Who knows? Maybe education or peer pressure would be more effective. Or maybe legislation is actually the best approach.

This is such a common thing we do. We have a strong tendency to operate on the horribly flawed “this is bad: therefore, legislation” syllogism. It’s given us decades of drug war, endless fights over abortion and all sorts of other societal problems. And legislation we do pass oftentimes ends up failing to fix, or even exacerbates, the problem.

It would be nice if we took more time to first ask the question, “Is this problem best served by legislation?”

Commenter J. Michael Neal says:

How else do you propose to ban cell phone use while driving?


I clarified:

In case it isn’t clear, the actual question is: “How do you propose to have people stop using cell phones while driving?” And no, that is not the same question.

J. Michael Neal says:

We disagree on your last sentence. Absent a ban you might reduce people using cell phones while driving but you will not stop them. If that’s what you want to do, a ban is your only option.

Yes, he actually believed that stopping cell phone use and banning cell phone use were the same thing!

Now, on the other hand, the post’s author, James Wimberley, at least realized that “ban” is not equal to “stop,” but justifies going into automatic ban mode anyway.

James Wimberley says:

The costs of a ban are very low, and the conduct stigmatized is clearly dangerous to third parties. A low success rate would still meet a cost-benefit test. I think the onus of proof is on the opponents of legal bans. [emphasis added]

Onus of proof on the opponents. That’s a concept! A pretty ugly one. And what if it turned out that some approach other than banning would have a higher success rate? That would throw your cost-benefit test out the window.

You don’t have to be a libertarian, or otherwise opposed to large government, to desire proper analysis of a problem and its potential solutions before rushing into a ban.

Yet the impulse in the general population is to ban, whether they are on the left or the right.

Those of us involved in drug policy reform have seen so clearly first-hand the unmitigated disasters that can come from the rush to ban, and so are less susceptible, perhaps, to that impulse. But we need to help others see that banning is not equal to stopping the problem, or we’ll have a hard time convincing those who believe drugs are a problem that legalization is actually better.

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59 Responses to The impulse to ban

  1. darkcycle says:

    I admire your tenacity, Pete.

  2. Matthew Meyer says:

    Reminds me of the ubiquitous “they” whom we came to believe, at some point, were making sure our world was safe to live in: “they” wouldn’t build bridges that would fall, would “they”?

    It’s as though we are being prepared for the return of The Overlords…

    And yeah, Pete, how else are you going to ban something other than a law? Sheesh…

  3. ezrydn says:

    Notice that Wimberley will only accept “your proving a negative.” That’s his way of saying, “My mind’s locked!”

  4. claygooding says:

    I would suggest banning cellphone texting being allowed by any phone service company,,which means no internet to phones,,make a phone a phone again.

  5. nick says:

    I appreciate this post because I often run into the same problem when speaking to people in person or online, mainly online. A lot of the time their first reaction to a controversial issue is often “there should be a law” regarding a subject, (this is the important part), that THEY don’t care about or believe affects them. It’s repulsive.

    It’s sad that a minority of people seem to view this “ban it” attitude as a problem or care enough to argue for freedom, even if that freedom is something they may disagree with.

  6. DonDig says:

    So maybe it’s easier (and lazier) to punish someone than to educate them. That’s no justification.
    Generates a little income for law enforcement. Ugh.
    Does that make it preferable? Geesh.
    What’s with this society being so into punishment? Do all the fathers think we all need punishment for being bad boys and girls? Are they trying to make up in legislation for their failings in parenting? This is so wrongheaded.

    • Windy says:

      Punishment — It’s a religious morality holdover from puritanism — having fun is sinful, punishment is necessary and for the public good. Frankly, I am absolutely certain the founder and practitioners, past and present of that fun-is-sin/punishment-is-good attitude were/are either sadists or masochists, no sane person would advocate either meme for everyone, enshrined in law.

  7. Jean Valjean says:

    Pete, I’m not sure about this one. It has been shown that using a cellphone while driving is actually more dangerous than driving while under the influence of cannabis. Because of the potential for serious injury to others, doing things while driving is different from doing things, like using cannabis, in your home. Some things therefore need to be banned while driving like drinking alcohol for example. Does anyone seriously have a problem with that ban?
    Of course a ban on cellphone use while driving is never going to be 100% effective, just like driving and drinking, but it does give pause for thought following a serious accident in which either may have been a factor. In the UK where a ban on cellphone use while driving has been in effect for some years there have been prosecutions for manslaughter where the driver’s phone records indicate that they were on the phone at the same time they ran an intersection or light. Consequently driving while on the phone has become rarer for most people.

    • Pete says:

      Please read the post a little more carefully. I’m not saying “don’t ban ever.” What I’m saying is that we should always consider whether a ban will actually work, and whether it’s the best way to solve the problem.

      Maybe education will reduce cell phone use while driving by 60% whereas banning would only do it by 20%. I don’t know. Maybe banning will cause people to try to get around the ban by doing something even less safe. I don’t know. It may be that banning is actually the best way to get people to stop using their cell phone. I don’t know.

      That’s the point. It’s not that we should never ban. Only that we should see if that’s the best approach before doing it.

      • Jean Valjean says:

        I don’t have the figures for how effective the ban in Britain on driving while using a phone has been, but I do know from observation that many people like my sister no longer chat away on the phone on the way home from work. In that sense the ban has been effective.
        The reference to a “train accident somewhere” is telling. The driver of the train which derailed near Santiago in Spain as he approached a 50mph bend at 121mph, while someone from the train company was talking to him on the phone, was clearly distracted at the point where the brakes needed to be applied. This resulted in 79 deaths and 140 injured. i can’t think of a stronger indication of the need to ban cell phone conversations (and other distractions) in train cabs at least, and I think this is a ban that is likely to work.
        Personal liberty is always trumped by harm to other people. Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins :–)

      • Jean Valjean says:

        “Only that we should see if that’s the best approach before doing it.”
        ….sometimes we have to try something to see if it works….the argument put out by prohibitionists like Kleiman et al is that “we don’t know exactly what will happen” if we legalize cannabis, so we better not try… and we all know where that got us.

        • Daniel Williams says:

          …sometimes we have to try something to see if it works… Reminds me of what Nancy Pelosi said about ObamaCare: “We need to pass it so we can see what’s in it.” With all the waivers issued and, now, the waiver for corporations with over 50 employees, it seems greater thought should have been given to the bill – or at the very least, read – before it was rammed through Congress and down our throats.

          My favorite retort to those opposing repealing drug prohibition is that, if we fuck it up, we can always give it back to the cartels.

        • Jean Valjean says:

          Daniel…I guess if we fuck up the phone ban we can always go back to train drivers taking calls as they approach a dangerous bend….besides, this is not a “ban,” it’s regulation about appropriate use…just like most of us want for cannabis.

        • Daniel Williams says:

          Actually, Jean, ObamaCare banned my high-deductible insurance policy. In fact, beginning in 2014, it will be illegal. Don’t see much “appropriate use” there…

        • Matthew Meyer says:

          “if we fuck it up, we can always give it back to the cartels…”

          I’m going to steal this one.

      • allan says:

        and the best example remains the reduction of tobacco consumption through public education campaigns, not through their banning.

        “The impulse to ban” is a deep subject. One I suspect we have been discussing (and fighting over) in our communities for a very long time.

        • Jean Valjean says:

          That’s a good point Allan, and I think we all need to be more specific when we use the word ban.No one has proposed banning cell phones, or prohibiting them as cannabis is prohibited. What has been called for by some is regulated use of cell phones, which directly parallels what many here are calling for with cannabis. As you point out, regulated use of tobacco combined with education has worked in reducing its anti-social aspects as well as overall consumption. I see no reason why this approach would not work in regards to cell phones in cars.

    • War Vet says:

      Legitimate bans vs. illegitimate (illogical) bans: How many people pay good money to be hurt or killed while driving and using a cell phone –or because someone else was? It’s easier to die in a car with distraction via cell phone than it is to die in a car while smoking heroin in a bathtub.

      There is no black market for death/injury/wreck by car wreck via cell phone . . . but has anyone actually heard of a black market for cocaine or pot?

      A driving while on a cell phone would be a good ban and it would reintegrate our LE with real laws that help people, like a ticket because the officers see you, instead of just pulling one over because the car has a Bob Marley sticker on it (now grandma and pastor are open game for a ticket with less ‘waste of time for a vehicle/driver search’). Totally stopping it wouldn’t happen, but it would be a good source of revenue (at first until most people stop or use a handless and get away with it -and would handless be permited?) for police instead of drug war fines. Surely a kind of technology that allows police the ability to not monitor the content of calls, but if a cell phone is being used while driving could be created -which won’t allow handless then, unless modern technology proves its a handless (sorry pocket dialers . . . just keep it in the consol or try not to fidget around) . . . so what about CB radios and the cell phone while driving ban? A handless CB? It shouldn’t be a jailful offense either . . . same rules for speedings since faster equals more danger like cell phones and drivers do.

      • War Vet says:

        But then again, maybe a driving ban wouldn’t be so good because of the more power police would have.

  8. Klay says:

    I find it unfortunate in our society we have decided everything requires a law or regulation. It is like when the seat belt laws were passed or speed limits. I do not believe making a ban will not effectively curtail the use of cell phones while driving, just as some still drive without seat belts, speed, and in cities where there are bans – use cell phones.

  9. Howard says:

    The knee jerk urge to ban has always reminded me of “killing mosquitoes with a shotgun”. Yes, you’ll take out a few mosquitoes — but you’re also likely to blow away the front porch, that nice fruit tree, and your dog in the process.

    For those who seek immediate bans for every problem, the notions of nuance and subtlety are rarely in play.

  10. Servetus says:

    One problem is the cell-phone impulse-banners are relying on preliminary research. The latest traffic research on cellphone derived accidents just hit the websites today:

    For almost 20 years, it has been a wide-held belief that talking on a cellphone while driving is dangerous and leads to more accidents. However, new research from Carnegie Mellon University and the London School of Economics and Political Science suggests that talking on a cellphone while driving does not increase crash risk.

    It’s important to wait for the facts to emerge; hopefully not for 20-years, though. We live in a paranoid culture where people attack anything they don’t understand, while imagining threats that don’t exist. They tend to act on pseudo-threats as if they do exist. Authoritarians are always ready to jump in with their ill-informed authority and love for eliminationism. The threat lies with the authoritarians, not the scapegoats.

    The original Carnegie-Mellon PDF publication can be found here.

  11. I say we accept his apology. Speaking about the impulse to ban:

    CNN’s Sanjay Gupta Apologizes For Past ‘Misleading’ On Medical Marijuana: ‘I Didn’t Look Deep Enough’

    • claygooding says:

      He even took the pro side in a debate on legalization!

      and did a fine job of it.

      • Howard says:

        I have to admit to a guilty pleasure. This puts a big goofy grin on my face;

        With Dr. Gupta’s admission that we’ve all been mislead regarding medical cannabis (and recreational), the shared jock itch of Messrs. Sabet, Kennedy, Frum, DuPont, Sembler, Bensinger et al. just got a whole lot itchier. And the collective knickers of Mmes. Fay, Leonhart, Sembler, Barthwell et al. are forming into a serious twist.

        At least in the case of cannabis, the urge to ban is moving to the thoughtful consideration to unban.


        Part of me thanks Dr. Gupta. Another part wants to ask, “What the hell took you so long?”.

        • claygooding says:

          I loved it because he wasn’t really arguing with the re-hab dr about legalization of marijuana yet blew him out of the water and made him admit that any addiction problems caused by marijuana use were still less harmful than alcohol or tobacco and that any health issues are less than either of them. It made the re-hab dr look like the drug warrior profiteer he is,,the only thing Guptka missed was asking the good dr how many of his hundreds of marijuana addicts were court ordered patients.

        • Thud/on/location says:

          “I respect Dr. Gupta’s change of heart regarding marijuana. He did the research and now realizes what millions of us already knew, and that is, that marijuana has incredible medical potential and is one of the safest recreational substances on earth. It is unbelievable that our Govt has been lying about this for more than 70 years. I wonder how many people currently serving on our Congress or as a member of the DEA actually believe their own propaganda. I think they simply choose to ignore the overwhelming evidence out of greed, racism, and in some cases cowardice (they’re too afraid to speak what they know to be the truth).”

          -Don M

  12. Dano says:

    Just a quick news note: Sanjay Gupta now seems to be supporting medical marijuana. New special report scheduled to run on Aug 11 on CCN, called “Weed”.

    Looks to be a significant news story. Top story on Google news at the moment.
    (Looks like I got beat to the punch just above. Still great story.)

  13. claygooding says:

    DPA has a form letter demanding congress investigate the DEA,,,turning up the heat to see the chicken dance faster is sooo much fun!

  14. Jeff Trigg says:

    Pertaining to that discussion is what a ban really is. A ban allows the government to hold a gun to people’s heads if they are caught or are suspected of doing something like driving while using a phone. Not every time, but it will happen, and will happen to minorities at a higher percentage. Another opportunity for the man to harass us.

    If you are in favor of a ban, would you be willing to hold a gun to your family, friends, or neighbors heads if you caught them disobeying the ban?

    That said, don’t text or surf or touch your phone and drive. Two hands, 10 and 2.

    Reckless driving is one thing. Texting at a stop light is another. Punish the reckless driving, regardless of the cause. Can technology create a cell phone dead zone in the driver’s seat? That’s probably a better solution than holding guns to people’s heads.

    • claygooding says:

      I would even go for a dead zone inside the car while it is moving,,that way if it is important enough people will have to pull out of traffic to engage in a text messaging conversation for the driver or anyone else in the car that could distract the driver,,I drove OTR for 40 years in a semi,,CB’s could even cause problems at times and save your life the next.

  15. ezrydn says:

    Big story in today’s “Informador” paper about legalization. Can’t read Spanish but have a feel for the conversation that’s going on. If Informador is online, and you read Spanish, Check today’s issue (Graphic on Ft. Pg & story on B-5). I’m sending copy to Howard (snailmail).

  16. ezrydn says:

    Found it! is their site. Click on “First” upper left. “Printed Home Version” will give you PDF of Front Page graphic. “Newspaper” you can select Pg 5 in B section to read story. Someone give a report. Sorry, I can’t.

  17. Freeman says:

    Heh, I saw that conversation over there. I got a grin out of it. The folks at RBC never met a ban they didn’t like. And J. Michael Neal’s propensity for sniping at anyone who disagrees in the slightest with the OP on any topic has me convinced he is an automaton — probably a WordPress plug-in. His knee-jerk gainsaying frequently has him stooping to such absurdities as “you will not stop them. If that’s what you want to do, a ban is your only option.”

  18. kaptinemo says:

    OT: The avalanche begins. Defense lawyers are demanding to see the NSA/DEA/SOD-gathered intelligence as it relates to their past and present clients: Criminal defense lawyers demand access to secret DEA evidence.

    Get’cher popcorn! Saved ya a seat down front. The fireworks are about to begin!

    • Viggo Piggsko Flatmark says:

      This is sweet, let the hounds loose.

    • Jean Valjean says:

      Less than a week ago the NYT put out a spoiler fake story saying that agencies like DEA were complaining that they could not get access to NSA information. Then, hey presto! it was shown that they had full access AND we got to see how they covered their tracks with SOD…then Kerli gets kicked upstairs… I’ love to be a fly on the wall over at DEA and I bet La Leonhart is sweating bullets

  19. john sutton says:

    The fact that texting or phoning while driving is against the has reduced is the amount of time I engage in such activities, but not stopped me. If I feel it is required or have the need to. I will. The fact that it is illegal only prevents me from doing it in front of a cop.

    I live by the motto “its not illegal if you don’t get caught”. Banning things never stops people from doing them. It only makes them more sneaky about how the do them i.e: drugs, speeding, cheating on your taxes, etc..

  20. Servetus says:

    All NYPD stop-and-frisk names and addresses will be purged under a new settlement agreed to by Bloomberg & Co:

  21. claygooding says:

    Guptka kicked it in the ass,,every mainstream media is scrambling for their very own mmj story.

    This is NBC’s.

    Jason David from Modesto chronicles the ups and downs with his 6-year-old son Jayden, who was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome, on a Facebook page called Jason and Jayden’s Journey.

    Jayden was diagnosed with Dravet, a rare form of epilepsy, when he was a baby. Since then, he has had seizures preventing him from walking, playing and living life.

  22. claygooding says:

    And now Piers Morgan has a marijuana legalization shw tomorrow night on CNN at 9pm EDT,,I tell you it is warming up fast and there is no drug czar to fight it,,,my,my,my

    • “I took the DEA at their word,” he said. “There was no scientific basis for them” to say that marijuana had no medical benefits.”

      I am proud of him. He went right for the DEA’s throat. Back to back with the SOD revelations, I don’t see how a Congressional investigation can be avoided.

      • allan says:

        I wonder if he ever saw judge Young’s report. It’s hard to miss the “safest therapeutic substance known to man” quote… lord knows it’s laid waste to many a prohib’s absurdities, lobbed like a grenade of truth (they chose the ‘war’ metaphor) by many of us in many places.

  23. DdC says:

    I think laws are meant for funding the justice department and their litters of copshops literally littering up every town and berg in the country. Justifying things such as bloated budgets, forfeitures, confiscations and over time. Who propose basically mind games for the public to feel psychologically more secure with their presence. Then it grew into a typical product sold on tax dollars with the invention of the Ganjawar. The same mindset that will spend 100 dollars in tax money to incarcerate someone for stealing 10 dollars at 30k/yr prison cost or koch profits. Paying a living wage might remove the incentive to steal and the cost of punishing or vengeance. Justice would be making things square with the victim. Plus the cost of the victims wasted time being infringed upon. Work it off or pay it off.

    Or caging minimum wage workers making 10k for a consensual crime at 30k per year prison cost. Rarely is a stolen car recovered for the owner. If they bust someone for the crime the owner doesn’t get anything out of it. The insurance might reimburse some of it and then tack it onto everyone’s bill. The Koch bros. get tax dollars for renting their cages. The judge gets paid, the lawyers get paid and all of the court house employees. Cops get paid to investigate and it all cost money in paper supplies, fossil fools, storage and office space. At the end of the day the only one benefiting is the system. Costing every tax payer a hell of a lot more than value of the stolen car.

    Consensual crimes are even more profitable for the system with no bearing on reality or justice. Texting while driving proves to be a violent crime. While toking a doober is mostly an enjoyable experience or why would they do it? To make it a crime seems rather obvious, just stand in the receiving line and watch who collects tax dollars we pay. The real question is why this hasn’t been questioned for soooo very long? Either the excerpts are stupid and therefore committing fraud getting tax paid paychecks as someone who is considered knowledgeable or they are liars knowingly receiving tax dollars based on lies, deceit and corporate interests, making it corporatism a treasonous offence. Stoners provide thousands of jobs, nearly half of the cage keepers and special dope cops and sqwat thugs. If everyone stopped toking they’d have to invent a new danger and menace to society. Not leaking radiation or dioxins dumped into rivers or anything cancerous that would remove profits from the drug companies treating the victims. Ah here it is. I rest my case ho yawner.

    Texas Congressman:
    Masturbating Fetuses Prove Need for Abortion Ban
    The hands of the male fetus may sometimes appear to be gripping its genitals. And that, says Rep. Michael Burgess, is why abortion should be banned even earlier in pregnancy than the GOP is seeking in a bill on its way to the floor.

    House of Representatives will vote on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, a measure spearheaded by Reps. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) It’s based on the scientifically-disputed theory that fetuses can feel pain before the third trimester of pregnancy.

    Roughly half of the arrests and court cases in the United States each year involve consensual crimes – actions that are against the law, but directly harm no one’s person or property except, possibly, the “criminal’s.” More than 750,000 people are in jail right now because of something they did, something that did not physically harm the person or property of another. In addition, more than 3,000,000 people are on parole or probation for consensual crimes. Further, more than 4,000,000 people are arrested each year for doing something that hurts no one but, potentially, themselves. — Peter McWilliams,
    Ain’t Nobody’s Business If You Do

    Every Sperm is Sacred, Monty Python u2b – Lyrics

    Oklahoma State Senator hupo
    Constance Johnson Writes Satirical Amendment Banning Non-Procreative Ejaculation

    “Make no laws whatever concerning speech, and speech will be free; so soon as you make a declaration on paper that speech shall be free, you will have a hundred lawyers proving that “freedom does not mean abuse, nor liberty license”; and they will define and define freedom out of existence.”
    –Voltarine de Cleyre

    Proposed text for Texas anti-masturbation bill dailykos

    We know every sperm is sacred. Just look at this biblical text:

    …And Judah said to Onan, Go in to your brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to your brother.

    And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in to his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.

    And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: why he slew him also. …

    So the penalty for masturbation according to biblical law is death. I’m sure the judicial system in Texas is well practiced in handing out said sentence. Wastrels murdering millions of sperm for their own pleasure must be punished. Severely.

  24. Servetus says:

    SOS! (Save Our Scam) cries defiant addiction profiteer Howard C. Samuels, in a special to CNN, in which he displays his disgust for ‘potheads’.

    Samuels doesn’t know it, but he’s setting the stage for addiction centers being targeted for fraud investigations that could expose the entire industry as a CCE (continuing criminal enterprise).

    After all, isn’t claiming marijuana to be an addictive substance without any hard evidence, and subsequently profiting from said lie, isn’t that the very definition of criminal fraud?

  25. Scott says:

    My new Liberty Shield fan page is essentially about the subject of law abuse, using Certain Drug Prohibition as the primary example to demonstrate in front of the true highest court of the land — the court of public opinion — that the current societal path towards more risk-based laws is actually blatantly illegal and well-proven to be disastrous.

    If you’re interested in this fundamental approach to ending the war on some drugs, feel free to join us at:

    “It seems to me that a proper intellectual analysis requires that we establish 1. that legislation would solve or significantly reduce the problem, and 2. that legislation is the only, or at least the best, solution to do so. Who knows? Maybe education or peer pressure would be more effective. Or maybe legislation is actually the best approach.”

    3. that legislation does not lead to further abuse offsetting positive societal impact.

    That said, there’s no evidence proving overall tragedy has been reduced by any and all legislation.

    However, law abuse (and its horrible damage) clearly exists as history and current events repeatedly reveals. To oppose one form of abuse (e.g. drug abuse) by law is ridiculous, given that law abuse is the worst form of abuse due to its mainly broad scope of destruction.

    The drug policy reform movement typically advocates regulation instead of banning. However, regulations are nothing more than a collection of bans. For example, even with legalization in the most popular form in drug policy reform, there would be a ban against people under a certain age buying recreational drugs legally.

    Note that if I were cynical, I would conclude too many people in drug policy reform are actually interested in moving the ban line solely for their own liberty. There’s nothing new here. Selfishly competing to move legal lines for the sake of some personal agenda without care for societal impact is constant (just ask lobbyists).

    Regulations are basically unproven (e.g. teens often still drink alcohol and smoke, despite age restrictions, and targeted corruption adapts to regulations through bribery and alternate corruption channels), but they certainly form a slippery slope that society demonstrably cannot adequately control (giving the people in power ample opportunity to abuse power). Only a public backlash (e.g. revolution, sufficient exposure of corruption, etc.) can temporarily stop power abuse due to that nasty slippery slope.

    The fact is education is the only legit choice in a nation with an unalienable right to liberty. That may sound odd, because that right has been dismissed by society since its inception, despite it being a truth to be held self-evident. The clear intention of that right (and constitutional amendment nine that obviously legally enforces it, despite corrupt judicial rulings otherwise) is to prevent law abuse, the primary form of power abuse and the form of abuse our nation was clearly established against. The U.S. Declaration of Independence even lists the abuses of law by the British monarchy at the time. Just because our Founding Father’s generation was unable to realize that right in law doesn’t make it invalid. The revolution to secure fundamental rights against law abuse has not ended yet and society needs to continue that righteous effort regardless of the dominant momentum in the opposite direction (i.e. the continued dominance of pre-American conservatism).

    The assumption (grossly enhanced by the people in power) is law is always good, so popular sentiment is to ignore law abuse and instead try to nudge law in their favor.

    Too many people just can’t grasp that risk-based law is not a solution, because they’re okay with it being a relatively cheap (in terms of ethical effort) feel-good approach that actually determines the victims of abuse.

    Too many people settle upon the fact that if abusive law is not negatively impacting them (or helps them achieve more positive experiences), then it’s okay.

    There’s so much more to this subject, including exploring the possible objective definition of harm to remove subjective laws (e.g. CSA) that mainly serve the people in power in the private and public sectors. After all, people in power have the resources to typically be most persuasive. Objectivity can do more than give us technology. It can improve language via extreme meaning and consequently fundamental law to prevent law abuse before it starts.

    Liberty Shield is an exploration into liberty, not a false promise of some panacea grounded in some foolish ideal. I refuse to join in the propensity to apply selective reasoning to achieve dominance (metaphorically the same thing as monkeys throwing crap at each other).

    I’m confident that your involvement in this exploration is not only necessary, but will at least be educational for us all, including giving us more (perhaps even much more) leverage to end the exemplified problem of risk-based law, the war on some drugs.

    Not to be “self-promotey”, but your constructive criticism is most appreciated (noting I’m not offended easily, so don’t hold back)…

  26. Matthew Meyer says:

    Gupta-hating concern trolls begin to emerge from the woodwork:

    • Matthew Meyer says:

      Third-Way-ers Scrambling Furiously:

      “Introducing legalized marijuana into our culture would be like using gasoline to put out a fire, because it stunts growth.”

      “Kevin Sabet, a former senior adviser to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy poses a terrific point when he says that criminal processing for possession of marijuana needs improvement, but legalization is a step too far.”

      “Why are some of the people who petition for legalizing marijuana so passionate about it? Because when you smoke pot, you get loaded. You fry your brain. That’s why the patients I see in my treatment center call it “getting baked.” Pot is all about getting really high.”

      • kaptinemo says:

        7K+ responses at the time of this posting, nearly all of them against the article. So much for ‘amotivational syndrome’.

        My Marine Da used to say that when you fight someone, and they get really angry, the mask comes off and you get to see what they’re really like. That’s what’s happening with the prohibs. This is just the beginning. Because this fight is proving that not all the loonies are in the bin. Some are loose, and they’re writing articles like that one.

        And that article is indicative of just how, as my Canadian friends say, ‘barking mad’ (as in ‘mad dog crazy’) the prohibs are getting. When they start hurling insults, you know they’re being pushed to the edge of the precipice.

    • Jean Valjean says:

      look what the blog is called;”The Daily Dose.”
      Sounds like Big Pharma

    • allan says:

      notice those commenters that argue the hardest against legalization have no real points to make. Snark don’t beat fact and we do the attitude thing so much better.

      • kaptinemo says:

        Like I keep saying, the more ground the prohibs lose, the crazier they’ll get…and the more their authoritarian true colors will shine through.

        That, in no small part, will be their undoing, for that turns most people right off at a very visceral, bone-deep level. Nothing pisses a person off faster than one legal adult engaging in a unwarranted, parochial attitude towards another legal adult; tends to get the blood boiling.

        For the unspoken rationale behind the assumption that most prohibs make is that their fellow Human beings are not competent to make their own decisions, and need ‘guidance’ from ‘older and wiser heads’, which are the prohibs, of course.

        Mencken’s long dead, but what he said so long ago holds true in any generation: “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.”

        The prohibs of every era, regardless of substance, are so keen to ‘save’ us from ourselves that they assume a false sense of Olympian superiority in their dealings with their prospective victims…and it shows in their language and mannerisms, as shows clearly by the author of that article.

        And what’s worse – for them – is that everyone else can see it, but they’re almost completely unconscious of it. And so, they continue to lose support, all the while wondering why their cohort is shrinking and that of their opposition is expanding. It never occurs to them that nobody with a normal amount of intelligence and self-esteem wants to be around an overbearing jerk who wants to tell everyone else how to live.

  27. Pete says:

    Interesting note: This just out BBC News: Moblie phone drivers ‘not linked to accident figures

    I would guess that with this, as with everything, it’s a complex picture.

    Sure, all of us see drivers talking on the phone who are dangerous on the road. I despise them when I’m driving in town.

    Personally, I follow the individual responsibility mode of driving, which is I that I won’t talk on the phone when I’m doing driivig that requires my full concentration – city driving, complex interchanges, etc.

    On the other hand, I do a lot of driving that involves long boring stretches of interstate. The biggest danger for me there is falling asleep at the wheel. I’m on cruise control, there’s no traffic and absolutely nothing to look at to engage my mind and keep me awake. At that time, a phone call with my chatterbox of a sister can save my life.

    • Freeman says:

      Saw that yesterday. Given all the other studies I’ve seen that contradict this one, I’m reserving judgment on this one until I see some more confirmation — it seems like an outlier.

      You make an excellent point about the difference between city driving and interstate driving.

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