“Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.” – John Adams, Thoughts on Government
What did he/she say?
“It’s a free country.”
That’s a popular saying — and true in many ways. But for a free country, America does ban a lot of things that are perfectly peaceful and consensual. Why is that?
The prohibitionists say their rules are necessary for either the public’s or the particular individual’s own good. I’m skeptical. I think of what Albert Camus said: “The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants.” Prohibition is force. I prefer persuasion. Government force has nasty unintended consequences.
I would think that our experience with alcohol prohibition would have taught America a lesson. Nearly everyone agrees it was a disaster. It didn’t stop people from drinking, but it created new and vicious strains of organized crime. Drug prohibition does that now.
The prohibitionists also ban the sale of human organs. You aren’t allowed to sell a kidney to someone who will die without one. Sally Satel, a physician who is the recipient of a kidney and the author of “When Altruism Isn’t Enough” (http://tinyurl.com/yzjnksw), says, “Altruism … is a beautiful virtue, but tomorrow at this time 13 people will be dead because they didn’t get a kidney.”
In a free country, we consenting adults should be able to do whatever we want with our bodies as long as we don’t hurt anyone else. People who don’t like what we do have every right to complain about our behavior, to boycott, to picket, to embarrass us. Bless the critics. They make us better people by getting us to think about what’s moral. Let them mock and shame. But shaming is one thing — government force is another. Prohibition means we empower the state to send out people with guns to force people to do what the majority says is moral. That’s not right.” – John Stossel, Keep Your Laws Off My Body