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Our Freedoms Shouldn’t be on a Smorgasbord for Our Leaders’ Choosing

Here’s a letter sent to the Washington Post:

Annoyed by today’s turbocharged nanny state, Michael Gerson observes that “Democrats in particular seem to be afflicted with Mary Poppins Syndrome: They will not rest until Americans are practically perfect in every way” (“With health-care reform, it’s nag, nag, nag,” April 23).  He’s right.

But by supporting the ‘War on Drugs,’ Mr. Gerson discards his ability to stand on principle against the state’s nannying intrusions.  Even if Mr. Gerson is correct that drug legalization will result in more “addiction” that “robs people of liberty,” why is it appropriate for government to stop me from losing my ‘liberty’ to addictive substances but not appropriate for government to stop me from losing my life to sodium or to transfats?

Adults should either be free to lead their lives in whatever peaceful ways they choose – regardless of the opinions of neighbors, elites, majorities, or ‘leaders’ – or they should not be free to do so.  Mr. Gerson’s refusal to allow Americans the right to consume whatever drugs they wish to consume means that he concedes to government the responsibility for protecting us from ourselves.  So, alas, the restless nannying now sweeping the land is but the inevitable outcome of a role that Mr. Gerson himself pleads with government to play.

Donald J. Boudreaux

While I’m on the subject, don’t miss this splendid eight-minute-long video of Milton Friedman exposing the flaws and faults of the ‘war on drugs.’ (HT Reuvain Borchardt)


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