Monthly Archives: February 2007

Oh for the Days when We All Agreed Who the Enemy Was!


LA News Release Carried in Full by NuLab Apparatchik


http://www.tom-watson.co.uk/?p=892


The Libertarian Alliance

NEWS RELEASE FROM THE LIBERTARIAN ALLIANCE
In Association with the Libertarian International

Release Date: Monday 19th February 2007
Release Time: Immediate

Contact Details:
Dr Sean Gabb (Director), 07956 472 199, sean@libertarian.co.uk

For other contact and link details, see the foot of this message
Release url: http://www.libertarian.co.uk/news/nr050.htm

“HEROIN AND THE POLICE: ONE SMALL STEP TO FREEDOM – A GIANT STEP FOR ACPO”, SAYS FREE MARKET AND CIVIL LIBERTIES THINK TANK

The Libertarian Alliance, the radical free market and civil liberties policy institute, welcomes the suggestion by Ken Jones, the President of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), that “heroin should be prescribed to long-term addicts to prevent them from committing crimes to feed their habits” (The Independent).

However, the LA suggests that this is a very modest step in the right direction. It calls on ACPO to embrace the full logic of its position and argue that heroin should once again be sold over the counter in pharmacies.

Libertarian Alliance Director, Dr Sean Gabb, says:

“We do not glory in the fact that the authorities are coming – though very slowly – round to an opinion that we have held and argued for during the past 40 years. Instead, we welcome this glimmering of common sense, and would ask Mr Jones to consider the final destination of the path along which he and his organisation have just so hesitantly begun.

“We believe that the War on Drugs is a war on freedom. It is not the business of the State to tell adults what substances they can and cannot put into their own bodies. Arguments about the alleged harmfulness of these substances are beside the point. It is our right to do as we please with ourselves. To deny us this right demeans us from human beings to farm animals. A farmer will keep his cattle from harming themselves because they are his property. We are not the property of the State.

“This is not just an argument about defending the right to a hedonistic lifestyle – important as this argument is. It is also an argument about our right to self-medication. Illegal drugs often have other uses beside the directly recreational. Opiates of all kinds are useful for relieving pain, both physical and moral. Cannabis may help relieve the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, and some other degenerative illnesses. Amphetamine and cocaine are of proven use in enabling longer and more sustained intellectual effort and for losing weight.

“If, along with their medical and other benefits, these substances have potentially serious side-effects, that is a matter for adult individuals to take into account for themselves.

“Britain is fortunate in being one of the few countries in the world where doctors may prescribe opiates for the relief of terminal pain. In this sense, we are luckier than America, where doctors are often too frightened to make use of their theoretical right to prescribe. But it is itself demeaning that we should seek the licence of a doctor before gaining legal access to the medications of our choice. The function of a doctor – as of a lawyer or an accountant – is to advise. It is not to decide.

“Moreover, it is unacceptable that even when a doctor is willing to prescribe as we ask, he is only allowed to prescribe from a list of permitted substances. And it is unacceptable that the companies that make these substances are only allowed to sell them once they have completed a long process of mandatory testing. It is doubtful if these restrictions really protect us from a repeat of the thalidomide misfortune. If they did, it would still be immoral for any effort to be made to protect us. It is beyond reasonable doubt that these restrictions raise the costs of research and development, and therefore that they slow down or even prevent the introduction of valuable treatments.

“If research and development were as unregulated in pharmaceuticals as they are in information technology, we might by now have cures for most degenerative illnesses, and we might now be enjoying significant extensions of our lifespans.

“Rather than further restricting our freedom to decide for ourselves, the Home Secretary should be returning to us the freedom we enjoyed in this country until the Dangerous Drugs Act 1920. Until then, an adult could walk into a pharmacy and buy any amount of any product that took his fancy. And the range of products then available included raw opium, morphine, heroin, cocaine, and amphetamine. Cannabis was sold by tobacconists, and tobacco taxes were far lower than the thousands of per cent now added to the price in the insulting attempt to make us stop smoking it.

“The Libertarian Alliance notes in passing that the War on Drugs has been, on its own stated terms, a catastrophic failure. It has not restricted the availability of any recreational substance, but has instead concentrated supply into the hands of criminal gangs. Because of this, prices have risen and quality has fallen. This War has criminalised millions, subsidised extended criminal networks, and has corrupted politics and law enforcement. It has given an excuse for the making of oppressive laws against “money laundering”. It has led to growing chaos on the streets. It has encouraged those unable to afford high prices into predatory attacks on life and property.

“And it has not even protected children. Would any pharmacist risk selling cocaine to a twelve-year-old? There are many street dealers who do.

“On simple pragmatic grounds, the Libertarian Alliance would call on the Government to join with the Police to rethink its failed War on Drugs. But we prefer to concentrate on the moral case.

“The Libertarian Alliance believes in a free-for-all in drugs for adults. This involves the right to get stoned – and it involves the right to self-medication.

“We say – End the War on Drugs: relegalise all drugs now!”

The Libertarian Alliance believes:

* That there should be no laws to control the development, manufacture, possession, advertising, sale or use by adults of any pharmaceutical or mood-altering substance;

* That, for the achievement of the above, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and all similar legislation should be immediately repealed;

* That, for the further achievement of the above, the Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986, the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, and all other laws regarding “money laundering”, should be immediately repealed;

* That, for the still further achievement of the above, the Medicines Act 1968 should be immediately repealed, together with all other laws that regulate what and how pharmaceutical substances may be sold;

* That all agencies of inspection and control set up to implement the above laws should be immediately abolished, and that their records be destroyed;

* That all investigatory powers given to the authorities for the prosecution of offences under the above laws should be immediately abolished;

* That all persons found guilty under the above laws should be pardoned and where appropriate compensated;

* Than any international treaty seeking to prevent any of the above should be formally denounced as a violation of national sovereignty;

* That, without any increase in the burden of taxes elsewhere, the excise duties on tobacco and alcohol should be reduced to match the lowest level in any of the other 24 member states of the European Union

* That any organisation arguing against the above should receive no public funding, and that, if relevant, its charitable status be revoked.

END OF COPY

Note(s) to Editors

Dr Sean Gabb is the Director of the Libertarian Alliance and edits its journal Free Life. His book, Smoking, Class and the Legitimation of Power, is available at Amazon. His other books are available from Hampden Press at http://www.hampdenpress.co.uk.

He can be contacted for further comment on 07956 472 199 or by email at sean@libertarian.co.uk

NEWS RELEASE FROM THE LIBERTARIAN ALLIANCE


NEWS RELEASE FROM THE LIBERTARIAN ALLIANCE
In Association with the Libertarian International
Release Date: Monday 19th February 2007
Release Time: Immediate

Contact Details:
Dr Sean Gabb (Director), 07956 472 199, sean@libertarian.co.uk

For other contact and link details, see the foot of this message
Release url: http://www.libertarian.co.uk/news/nr049.htm

“RELEGALISE GUNS: POWER TO THE PEOPLE”, FREE MARKET AND CIVIL LIBERTIES THINK TANK TELLS BLAIR GOVERNMENT

The Libertarian Alliance, the radical free market and civil liberties policy institute, today calls on the British Government to take firm action over the shootings of young men in South London.

It believes the best action would be to relegalise guns and let ordinary people fight back with lethal force against the violent criminals who presently rule the streets of our cities.

Libertarian Alliance Director, Dr Sean Gabb, says:

“The Libertarian Alliance believes in a return to the wise laws of our ancestors, under which a person could walk into a gun shop and, without showing a licence or any form of identification, buy as many guns and as much ammunition as he pleased, and could keep these at home, or carry them about in public, for the defence of his life or property.

“We have the most restrictive laws in Europe on gun ownership. These have plainly not worked. In 1968, in 1988, and twice in 1997, we were promised a safer country if only we gave up our guns. We were cheated.

“In fact, the only people who have no guns are the respectable. Those who do commit assaults are no more likely to obey the gun ban than they are to stop listening to horrid music or to wash their hands after using the toilet.

“Even turning the country into a police state, with powers of random stop and search and scanners in public places, will do nothing to disarm these creatures. Such laws will only inconvenience the respectable. They subject us to the indignity of being searched by police officers who are increasingly useless and corrupt. They disarm us to the point where criminals can roam among us like foxes among chickens.

“Laws against keeping guns at home and carrying them about for defence of life and property are an infringement of our liberties.

“We need to get back to the sane legal climate of the Victorian era, when citizens were expected to take part in defending themselves, and were encouraged to use lethal force when they believed it necessary.

“At the same time, we need real punishments for real crimes. Those who commit assaults on others should be caught and punished with terrifying swiftness and severity. Assuming due process of law, I see no objection to the use of the death penalty.”

The Libertarian Alliance believes:

* That there should be no controls on possessing and carrying weapons, including handguns, for self-defence, and that accordingly the Firearms Acts 1920, 1937, 1968, 1988, 1997 (one and two), and all other restrictive laws should be repealed;

* That there should be a legal and moral climate in which, where believed necessary, the use of lethal force to protect life or  property is celebrated;

* That all persons found guilty under the existing  laws against self-defence should be pardoned and where appropriate compensated;

* That all criminal laws should be repealed except those directed against force or fraud;

* That all agencies of inspection and control set up to implement laws against victimless crimes should be immediately abolished, and that their records be destroyed;

* That all investigatory powers given to the authorities for the prosecution of victimless crimes should be immediately abolished;

* That any organisation arguing against the above should receive no public funding or charitable status.

Note(s) to Editors

Dr Sean Gabb is the Director of the Libertarian Alliance. He is also the author of The Column of Phocas, a novel. Available via Amazon:

Dr Gabb can be contacted for further comment on 07956 472 199 or by e-mail at sean@libertarian.co.uk

New LA Publications


Dear All,

I am going on the Internet television station 18 Doughty Street tomorrow
evening the 15th February. I shall be on – I think – around 9:45 GMT,
together with Christian Michel and Brian Micklethwait.

One of your diary, I suggest: http://18doughtystreet.com/

Our Latest Publications:

(By the way, our Editortial director tells me the first of these is “the
LA’s 800th pamphlet! Between them, they’ve been written by around 280
people (although 15 of the “usual suspects” wrote 40% of the LA’s output).)

The Facts Of Reality: Logic And History In Objectivist Debates About
Government
Nicholas Dykes
Philosophical Notes No. 79
http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/philn/philn079.htm

Plants, Animals and Climate Change:
Some Ruminations on the Environment
Joe Peacott
Scientific Notes No. 15
http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/scien/scien015.pdf

First Paragraph of Dykes:

“This paper is a contribution to the long-running anarchy/minarchy debate.
It is in five parts. Part I responds to a critique of anarchism by David
Kelley.1 Part II revisits individual rights, the protection of which is
at the root of the debate. Part III examines the proposition ?government
is justified because it protects rights.? Part IV looks at the premise
?government is essential to protect rights,? while Part V reconsiders some
of Ayn Rand?s historical views in light of the evidence discussed”

First Paragraph of Peacott:

“A number of years ago I wrote a couple of pamphlets about the politics of
AIDS.1 At the time there was a vast amount of mis- and disinformation
about AIDS, its causes, its methods of transmission, and the risks it
posed to individuals being peddled as science and fact. I argued that many
scientists, much of the AIDS activist movement, and most of the mainstream
media either ignored data that was inconvenient to their analysis or
circulated “facts” that were simply untrue in order to scare people into
supporting one political agenda or another. Now that global warming has
replaced AIDS as the current threat to the existence of humanity, if not
the world, I see similar politicking, suppression of debate,
misunderstanding, and manipulation of the scientific data being used to
deceive people.”

Sean Gabb
Director, The Libertarian Alliance
Tel: 07956 472 199

Tim Evans speaks at tonight’s LA Putney Debate


The speaker at tonight’s Putney Debate – Friday 9 February 2007 – will be LA President Dr. Tim Evans who will give a talk on the ‘Global Horror of Water Socialism.’  

Today, 70 per cent of the world’s surface is covered by water yet as a consequence of the UN’s International Law of the Sea none of it can be privately owned. Building on the work of Walter Block and a host of other libertarian writers, Evans will examine the economic, social and political consequences of a world geographically dominated by water socialism. 

For more information email tim@libertarian.co.uk

Germany: land of the free


From Techdirt comes this report of a German court prohibiting the law enforcement agencies from installing spyware on someone’s computer.  Would such a case even be considered for a legal challenge in the U.K.?