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Libertarian Philosophy

Libertarians maintain that the War on Drugs costs society billions of dollars in valuable resources and is responsible for the imprisonment of millions of non-criminal Americans. Such resources divert law enforcement authorities away from real criminal activity and drug laws also violate the privacy of American citizens. The government has the right to search and seize people without a warrant and without probably cause, including viewing bank account records, email, and seizure of property. Libertarians argue this is a violation of civil liberties and does nothing to undermine drug use, '[The government] is doing all of these things, and it's not doing anything to reduce drug use at all', says Harry Browne, a Libertarian political candidate (Harry 2000, 7).

Libertarians are also in favor of legalizing drugs because they view current drug laws as worse than the use of drugs. Drug users are often sentenced to sentences that are harsher than individuals who commit violent crimes. The War on Drugs has cost more than $300 billion over the past 20 years, while the addiction rate is the same now as it was in 1980, 1.3 percent (Coker-Garcia 1997, 1). Libertarians also believe that drug prohibition has increased the riches of drug dealers, has increased violent crime in America's cities, and frighten drug addicts from admitting they have a problem. Mainly, however, Libertarians are in favor of legalizing drugs because they view drug laws and drug prohibition as undermining individual freedom. As one Libertarian argues, 'Drug laws jeopardize our freedom drugs are used as an excuse for violating Fourth Amendment rights to be free from the search and seizure of your property' (Coker-Garcia 1997, 2).

The Libertarian position of drug possession and drug use stems from its views on individual liberties and the ineffectual policies that legalize drugs and enforce drug law


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Libertarian Philosophy. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:03, August 20, 2017, from
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