You see, I’ve always fancied myself a Libertarian-Republican, despite my dislike for hyphenated classifications. But upon further reflection, I’m beginning to think I’m actually a Republican-Libertarian. I know that sounds like a very slight difference, but it’s bigger than you might think.
My shift in attitude comes from many factors. I’ll explain, and then you can help me analyze myself in the comments.
I used to hold the Libertarian belief that everyone should be abe to do what they want, so long as they don’t infringe on the rights of others. I believed that if people chose to do things that were self-destructive, that was their problem, and they’d have to suffer the consequences for them. I believed that the government should pretty much butt out of everything and let private business do their thing.
But then I took a good look around me, and I realized some interesting things. People DO chose to do self-destructive things, but in the process, they take out other people with them. Think about drunk drivers… there are millions of them. Chances are at least 30% of you reading this article, if not more, have driven drunk. Shame on you.
The fact is, drunk driving is a self-destructive behavior, as is alcoholism, but drunk driving impacts millions of other people. My non-Libertarian leaning now is that if you hurt or kill someone when you drive drunk, it’s the same as killing someone in the act of commiting a felony… if you kill someone while robbing a bank, you get the death penalty. Well, if you kill someone while driving drunk (which is illegal), you get the death penalty. Period.
Just because you legalize everything does not mean that Darwinism will win out, because there are too many people affected who AREN’T taking advantage of the legality. If drugs were made legal, it wouldn’t cut down on drug use. It might make purchasing and selling drugs safer, but would society be safer? I doubt it. People would act like idiots. If you don’t believe me, look at the activity of people who drink (legal) and drive (not legal). People will NOT act more responsibly if drugs are legalized.
Smoking is actually the thing that got me thinking yesterday. There’s a Missouri amendment that would add a humongous tax on cigarettes… a “sin tax” if you will. The studies show that the elasticity of demand for cigarettes is VERY VERY low, H O W E V E R, the elasticity of demand for MINORS is VERY VERY HIGH. In layman’s terms… if you raise the price of cigarettes, the adults are gonna keep on smoking, but the kids are going to be less likely, because they have less means to support the habit. It’s simple economics, and the studies have shown it to be true.
But, my Libertarian leanings are diametrically opposed to the concept of a “sin tax.” It’s government interference with the way people choose to live their lives.
The thing was, as I thought about which way I would vote on the amendment, I realized I was leaning towards voting FOR the tax. Easy for me to say, since I don’t smoke, right? It’s true. I don’t smoke. I think smoking is disgusting, expensive, and well… stupid. I’m the epitome of an intolerant non-smoker.
Smoking has many implications for non-smokers, though. Smokers always try to say that’s not the case, but the numbers just don’t support their nicotine-stained logic. Smoking is a tremendous burden to the economy. When someone without insurance gets lung cancer… the hospitals aren’t allowed to send them away without treatment. They absorb the cost and spread it out among everyone else. When someone WITH insurance gets lung cancer, it drives the cost of insurance up for EVERYONE.
And then there’s the issue of second-hand smoke. Children with smoking parents are MUCH more likely to get asthma and allergies than children with non-smoking parents. Non-smokers don’t even get the benefit of the filter that the smoker gets to have. I thank God every day that smoking has basically been shoved into the individual’s car and home. It’s irresponsible to blow your smoke on someone who doesn’t want to breathe it, just as it’s irresponsible to drink alcohol and then endanger everyone on the road by driving. Incidentally, having an “non smoking” section in your restaurant is like having a “non peeing” section in your pool. It’s just moronic.
So what it ultimately boils down to is this. I can look around and observe that people act like fricking idiots with alcohol and cigarettes, both of which are legal. Therefore, I can logically expect that if we legalize other dangerous activities like drugs and prostitution, people will act like fricking idiots with those as well. While I suspect that individuals and private entities SHOULD be the ones driving these decisions, I know that they just won’t do it, for whatever reason.
If people won’t choose to be smart, it sounds like they need to be forced. And suddenly that just doesn’t sound Libertarian at all. In fact, it doesn’t even sound Republican.
The only thing that gives me pause is that God only knows what the NEXT thing the government will decide to put a sin tax on… McDonalds, for instance.
Interesting how it’s easy to vote for a tax on other people, but not so great when it’s you…
I’m so confused. Help me clear up my muddled thinking… please!