THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Learning to love public servants
One Europe for all, including murderers


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"Their contempt for these laws (and these were all good, productive citizens) was total."

Good for them! Why should one respect an immoral law for reasons other than prudence?

Obedience in and of itself. with no consideration of the law you are obeying. is both stupid and wicked. What about taxation, hate speech laws, arbitrary licencing laws etc? Should these be obeyed merely because they are "the law"?


It was and was. Drugs were never more than a problem for a few addictive personalities (and if you have one of those you can become addicted to anything) until the War on Drugs began. I am absolutely confident that the state's "benevolent" intervention has caused tens, if not hundreds, of thousands more deaths than would have occurred if the "war" had never been begun. Not to mention the massive transfer of wealth from good to bad people it has caused, the consequences of which are hard to calculate, but unlikely to be positive.


It's always worth bearing in mind the negative effect of having laws that are widely disrespected. I remember my shock at finding myself the only person in a large group of friends at lunch one day who had never taken illegal drugs. They regarded me as odd for being law-abiding. Their contempt for these laws (and these were all good, productive citizens) was total.

Laws cannot realistically be enforced other than by general consent. The closer they adhere to common notions of justice and fairness, the more the public will cooperate in enforcing them and the less violence will be needed. The more violence is used to overwhelm public distaste the more respect for Law itself is undermined.

If all British laws could be traced either to (a) the libertarian principle that no-one is to use force or fraud against others, or (b) the secular items in the Ten Commandments, which still represent a common view in England of what is right or wrong, the costs (human and financial) of policing would be far less.

The Age of the ASBO is the product of the decline in society's respect for the law, which is a direct consequence of the socialist state's constant use of law for the purposes of indoctrination. Whereas passers-by would have brought young louts under swift control thirty years ago, only state violence will suffice now. And as even the middle classes become alienated from the Law, the level of violence required will steadily increase.

Applying Montesquieu's principle that when it is not necessary to make a law, it's necessary not to make a law is not a libertarian dream. It's a practical necessity to preserve the value of Law itself. Overuse it and you lose it.


I was surprised to Google and find that the expenditure definitions of GDP don't include private sector criminal activity. However all Government activity (much of which would be criminal if in the private sector) **is** included in GDP. So if drugs were legalised, citizens' expenditure on them (which I do not believe would rise - everyone who wants drugs in Britain has them) would be added to GDP, but the amounts the government spends on trying to suppress them would be deducted. At least that's my reading of the way it works.

Just how nuts is it btw that if the state borrows and spends, that **increases** GDP? In what sense is that "production?"

IF (as is sometimes the case) GDP is calculated as national income (aka GDI) then the proceeds of criminal activity are, theoretically, caught but of course it's difficult to count.

With state gangsterism on its current scale. I suspect private sector criminality is statistically insignificant.


Another example of the vampire squid of state spending attaching itself to a vulnerable client base.
It's not in the drug worker's interest to effect any kind of cure as this would put them out of a job. So spending increases inexorably.
It may be better and cheaper in the long term to do nothing


What Antisthenes said.

Also organised crime would have to move into something else, or loose revenue. Prohibition made the Mafia powerful, the prohibition against drugs has done the same for all organised crime.

It's not like drugs being illegal hasn't made criminals out of 95% of the western world's population, would making it legal really increase the take up like opponents argue? Also would proper quality control and open advice save lives?

Who benefits as it is? Government customs, security organisations & law empires empires, Government tax excuses and organised crime is who.

I sometimes do wonder who really finds the anti drugs lobbyists and if it was it laundered first?


Of course if drugs were legalised then the spending would turn into a revenue from taxation and addiction would probably rise initially but would fall in the long run as it would be easier to address the problem.

Nigel Sedgwick

I have a couple of more serious thoughts on this: and then a flight of less serious thought.

Firstly, is the plot of "drug control spending" a fair assessment. I personally would have thought the amount plotted should be the inflation-adjusted expenditure per head of population. From the line title, there is clearly is no adjustment for population. Is there an adjustment for inflation? I followed the link and found no answer to that question.

My second thought is that the expenditure could be plotted as a proportion of GDP. However, as the government expenditure is part of GDP, that introduces a bias. Perhaps the plot could be of the proportion of non-government GDP. I then wondered whether the (illegal) drugs trade is counted as part of GDP.

Extension of that last thought then got problematic. Presumably large parts of all sorts of criminal activity are not considered as part of GDP - not least because the government and other observers have no true measure of the level of activity, because it is illegal and not reported. Thus, as government makes more laws, the level of criminal economic activity may well increase, as a proportion of the total economic activity: but this would not be reported in the GDP figures.

Thus the size of the black market increases, not just with the level of taxation, but also with the level of passing into law, new types of crimes.

Surely the converse also applies. If economic growth is not adequate (for government vanity), making legal some currently illegal things should boost GDP. This is on the basis that the boost in legal (non-government) economic activity should be greater than the reduction in (legal) government economic activity in (previously) enforcing the repealed laws.

Criminal laws at the margin thus suppress economic activity; we need to ask if is this justified, in balance in each specific case, by the benefit: presumably often no more than moral outrage and its fellow travellers.

Best regards
Nigel Sedgwick


I assume it's the total.

Single Acts of Tyranny

Whilst I am supportive of the sentiment, it does need one comment; where does $1.5T come from? the axis reads $20B at the top right.

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