Book Review: The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom

By:  John Larabell
10/23/2012
       
Book Review: The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom

In his book The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom, Laurence Vance illustrates the absurdities and inconsistencies of the federal government’s drug war in America, and explains why, in his view, the war on drugs should be ended immediately.

In his book The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom, Laurence Vance illustrates the absurdities and inconsistencies of the federal government’s drug war in America, and explains why, in his view, the war on drugs is unconstitutional and should be ended immediately.

When it comes to substances that are smoked, injected, snorted, inhaled, or otherwise ingested into one’s body, Americans, and conservatives in particular, are very inconsistent, according to Vance.

The book is a collection of 19 of Vance’s essays written from 2009-2011 on the subject of the drug war from what Vance calls his “conservative Christian libertarian” perspective. Accordingly, there is a good deal of overlap from chapter to chapter (which Vance admits to). Most of the essays were originally written for The Future of Freedom Foundation, a Virginia-based nonprofit libertarian advocacy group.

As he says in the book’s introduction,

This is not a book about the benefits of drugs; this is a book about the benefits of freedom. I neither use illegal drugs nor recommend their use to anyone else. I am even skeptical about the health benefits of most legal drugs. So why this book? Because I believe in freedom. I believe in individual liberty, private property, personal responsibility, a free market, a free society, and a government as absolutely limited as possible. I also believe that my perspective on this subject is unique.

Vance’s position is rather unique. He believes that drug, alcohol, and tobacco use is immoral and does not advocate that anyone engage in these activities. However, he does not feel that it is the government’s job to prevent people from engaging in any activity that does not harm another person or another person’s property. While this position may seem logical to “conservative Christian libertarians,” many modern conservatives will likely find his positions controversial.

In light of this, Vance points out the apparent hypocrisy of many conservatives who see no problem with keeping alcohol and tobacco products legal, yet wish to keep all narcotics illegal and spend billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money to stop people from using them. He feels that it is the job of families, churches, support groups, etc. to influence society away from vices such as drug abuse. Yet too often these very groups want the government to do their work for them and attempt to force people into moral “correctness.”

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