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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Drug Freeland Part 2 Drugs and Kids

In part 1 of Drug Freeland I recounted how a debate over drug legalisation set me on the path to Libertarianism.

New Freeland

In my (non drug induced) higher state of awareness, I decided to imagine how drugs would fit into a truly free, Libertarian society. Would our dreamed of Land of New Zeal, our New Freeland simply turn out to be a degenerate, libertine, dope ridden cess pool?

Or would a free re-vitalised people be able to conquer the drug curse without the dubious help of the state?

Would this new society find new ways of reducing drug abuse, when freed of the socialist thinking that currently colours most people's outlook?

Would new, non governmental social structures and institutions arise to marginalise the drug user and give him reasons to abandon his habit?

Would other structures arise to help those who wanted to live drug free lives?

Below I list some changes that I believe must take place in order to create our New Freeland. I think that most, if not all of these changes should take place before we legalise drugs.

To me it is a matter of sequence. We are living in an unfree, highly socialist society. Many activities, both harmful and beneficial are currently proscribed by law.

If we legalise the harmful activities, such as drug taking, first, the damage done will not be borne solely by the doper. It will affect everyone as we are forced to pay for medical and psychiatric aid, counselling, methadone programs and the like.

This would tend to poison public attitudes towards Libertarian views as people would resent paying for the cost of personal vices.

I think we should concentrate first on changing our society so that the rewards of rational behaviour are the sole property of the originator and the penalties for folly are borne mainly by the fool.

These proposed changes would fundamentally alter society in a positive way while eliminating many of the "excuses" for drug abuse. They are fully consistent with Libertarian principles as I understand them.

Number One. The Re-Establishment of Parental "Ownership" of Children.

Many parents live in terror that their kids will become involved with drugs. They oppose any hint of drug legalisation, because they don't want to see their kid's lives ruined (even though they might have the odd joint themselves).

Because drug use is illegal most parents rely on the state to protect their children and leave it at that.

Very few go out of their way to find out about drugs or find out how to keep their kids away from them.

The current approach just isn't working, most kids can easily get drugs and often use them simply because they're forbidden.

In New Freeland drug use may still be regulated by age limits such as is currently the case with alcohol, legal agreements, film censorship and the like.

However I believe the real solution will lie with the strengthening of parental legal responsibility and "ownership" of children.

As legally non responsible beings, children will be "owned" by their parents and be taken responsibility for, as a farmer owns and is responsible for his stock.

Though the comparison might seem a bit offensive at first glance, children, are not able to govern themselves and must therefore be governed by another. If the parents don't do it, the State soon will.

So, I believe, that up to some arbitrary age, say 18, children will be the total legal responsibility of the the parent or guardian.

Currently, as long as you don't savagely beat or mistreat your kids you have little responsibility for their actions. Spurred on by subversive groups like the Youth Law Project and that mother of all abominations, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child, the trend is towards more fake rights for kids and fewer real rights for parents.

In New Freeland, this insidious trend will be reversed. Parents will have the right to discipline and direct their children as they see fit. They will home school, or send their kids to affordable private schools that teach the values and uphold the disciplinary standards desired by the parents.

Because their children are their "property" they will be able to invoke civil proceedings against anyone who in any way tries to introduce their kids to drugs.

They will have 100% legally enforceable control over who their children does or does not associate with.

Ownership however carries responsibilities. Allowing one's child to ingest toxic substances will constitute abuse and will be subject to severe legal penalties, including the possible loss of the child in question.

It may also result in legal action, if it can be proven that parental neglect or irresponsibility allowed a child to sustain drug induced damage. This might also apply to damage suffered in the womb, (after the legal abortion period) caused by parental drug intake.

This may help to reduce the disgusting sight of pregnant women walking out of bottle stores with a bottle of gin in one hand and a ciggie in the other.

In New Freeland, if your drug abuse in any way physically affects your child, before or after birth, or you give or allow your child access to toxic chemicals, you may face civil action, criminal prosecution or both.

Just as a farmer is liable if his stock eats his neighbour's cabbage crop, New Freeland parents will be legally liable for damage caused by their children. If you allow your 14 year old to mix with a bad crowd, sniff glue and burn down the local school, you will will be sent the $800,000 repair bill. If your 16 year old gets drunk and rides his motorbike through the neighbour's garden, likewise you'll wear the cost.

In New Freeland, most parents will probably take out "child insurance" to offset the cost of any mischief junior might get up to.

Parents who are obviously good citizens and parents, will pay low premiums. Parents who are negligent, have a history of criminality, drug abuse or delinquent children will pay very high premiums or get no insurance at all.

This will give irresponsible parents a choice. Either become good parents, pretty damn quick, or face a life of poverty and bankruptcy and the loss of your children.

Responsible child rearing in New Freeland will be a joy. Irresponsible breeding will not be so much fun.

Drugs and kids should mix a lot less than they do now.


Blogger Berend de Boer said...

As people are not rational, most people will continue to behave as before. Probably thinking: at the next election I'll vote for the bunch that gives me my free money again.

In the mean time will New Zealanders be prepared to face the consequences happening to most at the bottom?

No society has ever escaped socialism if it voluntary has started down that path.

Other than that: I fully agree with the proposal of course :-)

9:43 PM  
Anonymous peter said...

In a libertarian society, why should children not have the same freedoms as adults, if not, that is hardly liberal is it. And where would your cut off be that parents stop owning their kids, 18? isnt that a little arbitary?

10:48 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

As I said Peter it is arbitrary.
Some people are ready for sex at 16, some aren't. We have to set a limit somewhere, imperfect that it is.

Kids shouldn't have same rights as adults, because they are not ready for the same responsibilities.

You can't legally or morally have sex with a severely retarded 25 year old woman. Nor can you sign her up for a loan or a credit card.

The same should apply to children.
12 year year olds shouldn't be available for sex and they shouldn't have the vote or be able to enter into legally binding contracts.

Libertarianism bestows rights and RESPONSIBILITIES on ADULTS Peter.

Children should be allowed to be kids and should be protected by adults until they are able to fend for themselves.

12:03 AM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

Berend Here is a point I would like you to consider.

I think you would agree that a free maket makes people more rational and more responsible, because there is a very clear incentive for being R&R and a very clear downside if you are not.

Now apply the same principle by allowing free market principles in the social spere.

Is it not possible that by freeing up ALL ares of social interchange, that a very real upside would emege for being R&R and a very real downside would emerge for being the opposite.

Might that not lead to greater levels of Rationality and Responsibility than are evident today?

12:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a young person i will defend myself against anyone that attempts to infringe upon my rights....

11:27 AM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

So you should anon. Just beaware that neither your rights nor your responsibilities are as great as those of an adult.

11:31 AM  
Blogger MikeE said...

I'm worried by your choice of "ownership" as a term here. As it implys that children are a commodity that can be traded - and that they have no property rights over their bodies.

See my comments on the "Baby Market" topic when at the CIS liberty and society:


8:12 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...


7:18 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

Ownership is a strong word MikeE, because it denotes a strong concept.

I OWN my kids. No ifs or buts.

That ownership implies some very big responsibilities.

I must not only not treat my kids humanely (like I must treat animals), I must feed and clothe them, look after their education, give them moral guidance and provide for their emotional and intellectual wellbeing, plus many, many other things.

If I fail in these duties, I may (quite rightly) lose my kids.

Private ownership encourages responsibility, which is why it is the best form of asset management.

Bringing up kids is a huge responsibility, which is why parental "property right" must not be diminished in any way.

The more you diminish parental control of children, the more child abuse and neglect you will get.

For the sake of children and parents-ownership is the only way to go.

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To many words to be bothered reading, especially its bound to be a load of self-indulgent hogwash.

9:29 PM  
Anonymous j'nette Saxby said...

its interesting that we as parents think we can protect our children from the percieved dangers of drugs. The danger lies in the abuse of the alcohol or other drug and the harmfulness read addictiveness of the substance.
our young people of today are no different than the young people of any other era. to grow up young people enact rituals and mimic the behaviour of adults.

I guess the debate as to whether or not legalising a substance protects our youth or produces more harm is a moot point. The multinational corporations and government are intertwined. The biggest killer in this country is a drug. its cigarettes. Close behind comes alcohol and the harms are well known and long lasting, ie an unwanted pregnancy.
Cannabis stands a slim to no chance of ever being legal or accepted in this country legally yet as the most well researched group of young people in the world have shown in the ChCh health and development study,72% of our young people have tried cannabis.Explain how prohibition is working? also remember that many of this young people trying cannabis as a normal part of growing up come in to contact with gangs to purchase a tinny. There is no logic reason or rationality behind the drug laws or drug wars.
mother of three

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe parent ownership makes sense..

Kid's should know more about the world before they have the same rights as adults. Call it a trail version of life :P

Once they have the knowledge, they should be able to do whatever the hell they want.. as long as it does not infringe on my rights.

1:58 AM  

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