David Stockman: People’s Drug Use is ‘None of the Government’s Business’

Whether people use drugs is “none of the government’s business in the first place,” declares economics and politics writer David Stockman. Instead, says Stockman, “the philosophically correct position is that what people do in their private lives, what they use for sedatives or intoxicants or recreation,” is “their business — it’s not the government’s.” Stockman makes these comments in a fascinating new video interview with host Jacob Hornberger of the Future of Freedom Foundation.

Addressing further the right to use drugs, Stockman, who has worked in Washington, DC in jobs including as the director of the Office of Management and Budget and as a member of the US House of Representatives, says:

If we accept that in a free society people have a fundamental liberty to make choices for the better or for worse as long as they do not directly harm third parties or other people in terms of their safety, lives, and property, that is a fundamental principle that you really need to sort of implant right in the center of your thinking, because once you deviate from that principle, where does it stop? What I learned over my period in Washington is that, once you deviate from that principle, there are always advocacy groups that can come along and make a heck of a case that skydiving is a highly dangerous sport, and it needs to be banned — or any other endeavors of that sort that would be easy to name.

So, I think it is very clear: People have to have the liberty in a free society to make good choices, productive choices, for themselves, their families. But, also, if they make questionable choices or bad choices, that’s all part of the freedom business. Once we deviate very far from that, we have a government that can’t help itself, a government that becomes as a lot of people call it, and I strongly believe it’s the case, the nanny state that has the potential for endless meddling and interference in our lives.

In addition to presenting a rights-based condemnation of the drug war in the interview, Stockman argues that the roughly $1.5 trillion spent by the US, state, and local governments on the drug war since President Richard Nixon’s 1971 announcement of the war on drugs has had “no impact whatsoever” in achieving the drug war’s stated goals of reducing the rates of drug use and serious drug addiction. Also, argues Stockman, the drug war has created “collateral damage and really destructive effects,” some of which Stockman discusses in the interview.

Watch Stockman’s complete interview here:

Stockman is a member of the Ron Paul Institute Advisory Board.

Reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

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