A question of harm and government’s duty

A common argument for Marijuana being illegal is as follows :-

P1. Government has a duty to protect people from harm.
P2. Marijuana is harmful.
C. Therefore, Government has a duty to protect people from marijuana.

At a Libertarianz conference Dakta Green spoke against this argument’s conclusion – he argued for the legalisation of cannabis. Dakta’s speech was aimed at convincing the audience that P2 was false (i.e. that cannabis was not harmful).

His seat was near mine so after he had finished speaking I asked him if he thought P should be illegal. He was quite insistent that P should be illegal because it was harmful.

Dakta’s argument for criminalising P was the same form :-

P1. Government has a duty to protect people from harm.
P2. Methamphetamine is harmful.
C. Therefore, Government has a duty to protect people from methamphetamine.

According to Dakta’s own reasoning cannabis should be illegal if it is harmful. Dakta was incorrect about cannabis not being harmful. But he was correct that cannabis should not be illegal. The false premise is P1 – i.e. government does not have a duty to protect people from harm.

Consider the following :-

P1. If government has a duty to protect us from harm then government should protect us from alcohol.
P2. Government shouldn’t protect us from alcohol.
C. Therefore, government does not have a duty to protect us from harm.

The belief that Government has a duty to protect people from harm is the basis of Nanny Statism.

Do you believe that government has a duty to protect you from harm?

This entry was posted in Freedom, Nanny State, Prohibition, Rationality, Regulation, Self-ownership, Truth. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A question of harm and government’s duty

  1. Tim Wikiriwhi says:

    It is not the governments duty to protect people from harm.

  2. Tim Wikiriwhi says:

    And this argument destroys all Richards bleating about the current situation of the government allowing the sale of synthetics which it has not been through regulartory testing deemed ‘safe’.
    Safety is a myth.

    • reed says:

      The sale of synthetics was “allowed” before the Psychoactive Substances Act – AFAIK Richard had no objection to that situation.

      The government licensing drugs is different from simply “allowing the sale of synthetics.”

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