Conservatives should oppose the drug war

SteveBuckstein.serendipityThumbCascade Policy Institute urges a Yes vote on Measure 91 this November to decriminalize marijuana. While Oregon’s marijuana laws aren’t the strictest, and medical marijuana is legal here, possession of even small amounts of recreational marijuana is deemed a misdemeanor and can result in a fine. Possession of larger amounts, and cultivation in any amount can result in a felony with large fines and jail time.

As Nobel prize winning economists Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman argued, even if drugs are bad for us, we simply don’t have sufficient knowledge to create a drug war that does not have unintended consequences that may actually be worse than the drugs themselves.

Ending the drug war is sometimes seen as a liberal political position. But, it should be a conservative position also. Here, with minor revisions, is my case for why conservatives should oppose the drug war, first published in 1998:

On a cold December day about twenty years ago a woman asked her big brother to buy her some marijuana. She was undergoing “an agonizing jolt of chemotherapy resulting in wracking nausea” and believed pot would make the therapy bearable. Big brother turned her down because he was a self described “coward.” He knew nothing about such things, and was sure that a “lurking narc” would spot him and bask in the glory of busting such a famous person.

Who was “big brother”? None other than the now late conservative icon William F. Buckley, Jr. He didn’t have to oppose the drug war for ideological reasons; he had very practical ones. Other conservatives, should follow his lead.

The war on drugs has done more damage, for a longer period of time, than prohibition in the 1920s. Then, alcohol was the demon of choice. Crime and gangs exploded during that failed experiment, just as they thrive on the current drug prohibition.

Horrified by the violence and corruption that alcohol prohibition fostered, lifelong Republican Pauline Morton Sabin told Congress in 1930, “…women played a large part in the enactment [of prohibition]… They are now realizing with heart burning and heart aching that if the spirit is not within, legislation can be of no avail. They thought they could make prohibition as strong as the Constitution, but instead have made the Constitution as weak as prohibition…” She went on to say that before prohibition, her children had no access to alcohol. During prohibition they could get it anywhere.

The same is true for drugs today. We’ve been fighting this war for decades, yet the average American family is more worried now that Johnny or Jane will use drugs and ruin their lives. With the advent of asset forfeiture laws, drugs in Johnny’s room can lead to your family losing its home. “Zero tolerance” is the antithesis of the conservative’s regard for private property and the protections secured in the Bill of Rights. The Founding Fathers didn’t say that Americans should be secure in their persons and property unless the teenager of the household smoked pot.

If you think decriminalization would lead to more lives destroyed by drugs, think again. Cigarette use has declined dramatically through education, not prohibition. Health experts tell us that a much higher percentage of cigarette smokers get hooked than users of either heroin or cocaine, yet more adults have quit cigarettes than currently smoke. If 48 million Americans can quit smoking without going to jail, we should be optimistic that other drug users can do the same.

Why do drug dealers hang around schools, while cigarette dealers don’t? Cigarettes are legal, at least for now. Prices are so low that it doesn’t make sense for pushers to hook your kids. Cocaine and heroin are another matter. The high profits created by prohibition make it inevitable that hooking your kids is worth the risk. Before the drug war, the worst schools were safer than the best schools are today.

Conservatives should understand that prohibition leads to black markets, which lead to crime. Condemn the heroin addict for his self-destructive ways. But would you rather he nod off on a two dollar a day habit, or break into your home to feed a two hundred dollar a day addiction? The difference in price is a direct function of prohibition.

Drug violence is also a function of prohibition more than any chemical property of the drugs themselves. When society tells dealers their activities are outside the law, don’t be surprised when they take the law into their own hands to protect their turf. And don’t be surprised when innocent people die in the crossfire.

So, what have we learned? That it isn’t drugs, but the war on drugs that allows our own government to seize assets from innocent Americans. That it isn’t drugs, but the war on drugs that is more likely to lead our children into self-destructive drug addiction. That it isn’t drugs, but the war on drugs that leads to property crimes and violence.

The question for conservatives isn’t whether drugs are good or bad. The question is whether government can do a better job ridding our streets of drugs than it has ridding our society of poverty. Or whether government can do a better job keeping our kids off drugs than it has educating them in government schools. Bill Buckley and other conservatives understand that government is not capable of solving these problems, but it can make them worse.

It’s time for conservatives to return the drug problem back to where the poverty and education problems belong; in the church, the community, the family. Only then will drugs be less of a problem in America.

Remember Pauline Sabin’s words, “They thought they could make prohibition as strong as the Constitution, but instead have made the Constitution as weak as prohibition.”

Steve Buckstein is Senior Policy Analyst and founder of Cascade Policy Institute.

The original version of this column was published in the October, 1998 1st Anniversary Issue of the conservative magazine, Brainstorm.

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  • Eric Shierman

    It’s nice to read a philosophically consistent application of the first principles of limited government on the Oregon Catalyst.

    • Eric Blair

      Well hello Eric.. long time no see. I wonder what happened to you.. I like your posts even if I frequently disagreed with you.

  • Eric Blair

    And… my God.. we agree. There is hope for you yet! Or, maybe there is hope for me. Either way. 🙂

    • Eric, let’s just say that there’s hope to end part of the drug war in Oregon, and then go from there.

  • Eric Blair

    I can agree with most or many drugs, or many, drugs. What about Meth? The production of Meth poses a health risk, not only to those who manufacture it, but to neighbors as well.

    • Anthony

      There are about 1300 varieties of meth currently made by big Pharma,

    • Eric, production of meth is dangerous and Oregon reduced home meth lab incidents by some 90 percent by putting the precursor pseudoephedrine behind the counter in pharmacies. It then made such precursor drugs such as Sudafed require presecriptions, which didn’t help much but inconveniences honest cold and allergy sufferers.

      Most meth used in Oregon today is produced in large commercial plants in Mexico run by the Mexican drug cartels. So, production risks here are way down, but use, abuse and violence associated with the sale of meth are still big problems.

      • Myke

        Oregon needs to go to the Federal standard of one package of Sudafed every 30 days, and drop the prescription requirement. Excess and unnecessary health costs.

      • Troy Grice

        Pouring gasoline in your living room and playing with matches is dangerous, too. But do we put matches and gasoline behind the counter?

  • Ron Swaren

    Don’t do drugs. End of drug war.

    CPI is a bunch of hot air. Their main accomplishment is in driving a wedge in the election process with their vanity candidates. And they are basically libertines with no moral values looking for a following, and consequently adding a wild card into elections.

    “The question for conservatives isn’t whether drugs are good or bad.”
    If you’re conservative, why don’t you just stop fielding candidates that divide the conservative vote? However when I ask Libertarians this, they claim that they are a little of both, so it is an unanswerable question.

    • Eric Shierman

      You seem to be confusing Oregon’s premier free market think tank with the Libertarian Party of Oregon.

      I would hardly call the Cascade Policy Institute’s effect on policy in this deeply blue state hot air. One might better use that epithet for both the Oregon Republican Party and the Libertarian Party, both of which have been fairly impotent in statewide elections for a long time now while the CPI does something neither of them can: successfully advocate limited-government policies to the Democrats who are and will remain in power in this state for the foreseeable future.

      Look at the impact that Steve Buckstein’s organization has had on the school choice views of John Kitzhaber. The first time he was a governor in the 1990s, Kitzhaber vetoed every conservative piece of legislation but the one that CPI focuses most of their energy on. In 1999 he could have vetoed a charter schools bill, but Kitzhaber signed it into law instead, defying threats from the teachers’ unions because he was personally convinced by the evidence presented to him that it was good policy. The unions made good on their threats in his primary campaign in 2010, furiously opposing Kitzhaber. A year later he coerced Oregon Senate Democrats to pass HB 3681, and Kitzhaber signed into law Oregon’s current open enrollment law. Sometimes referred to as school choice for public schools, it allows students to transfer to other districts and take their state education money with them.

      The next step is full school choice, allowing them to take that money to private schools. Cascade is working hard to educate legislatures of all political parties on the merits of this reform which is essential, because if it’s gets passed it will most likely be by Democrats. I would hardly call CPI’s work hot air.

      Now let’s examine that other mistake you made. “Don’t do drugs. End of drug war.” It’s a mistake in two ways. First, public policy needs to be formed with the understanding of how people actually behave, not how anyone would wish they behave. Second, it’s non sequitur to the question of whether or not the war should be implemented in the first place. The same locution could be applied to any legitimate thing people do that the government wrongly suppresses such as “Don’t form a tea party organization and the IRS won’t discriminate against you.”

      • Ron Swaren

        I’m not confused about anything. If libertarians (there, I will use a non capitalized version to denote that they are not exactly equivalent to a political party) are conservative (Buckstein’s choice, not mine) they could have spared this state the last four years of Kitzhaber. Chris Dudley lost by a margin well below the Libertarian and Constitutionalist parties’ vote, when neither of their candidates had any chance of winning. They’re “conservative” when they want to be, “liberal” at all other times (I guess), and have ZERO practical traction as political movements, other than some odd input, similar to other PACs.

        • Eric Shierman

          I pointed out that you confused the Cascade Policy Institute with the Libertarian Party of Oregon. Read your comment again; you accused the CPI, a non partisan think tank, of running “vanity candidates.” After claiming you are not confused about anything, I suppose your pivot to small “l” libertarians is an admission that you were indeed confused.

          You understand that is a different thing too right? Or are you confused on more matters than whether or not the CPI is a political party? From what I can tell from socializing with fellow people who give to the CPI, most of them are conservative Republicans. Small “l” libertarian names an ideology, not a political party. Most libertarians actually vote for the Republican Party too.

          There will always be people whose views are so extreme they will not vote for one of the two major parties – a fact of political life the CPI plays no role in. In 2010 the Constitution Party candidate got more votes than the Libertarian Party candidate. Surely you are not so confused as to blame CPI for that as well.

          • Ron Swaren

            Have you ever hear of “front groups?” Right, we know the CATO Institute isn’t a political party, either, but birds of a feather flock together. Another irritating issue that CPI and the LIbertarians waffle on is gay marriage. If anything, this would be an increase in govenment power, and you would think they would be opposed to that.

          • Eric Shierman

            You’re becoming like that peasant on Monty Python’s Holy Grail who refrained that “Well we did do the nose, and the hat, but she’s a witch!”

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrzMhU_4m-g

            In your case it’s “Well I did mistakenly accuse the Cascade Policy Institute of running vanity candidates, and I did falsely claim that small “l” libertarians mostly vote for the Libertarian Party, but CPI and Cato are front organizations for the Libertarian Party.”

            There are several facts that make this latest confusion of yours impossible. First, while neither organization is drowning in money, they have a lot more of it than the national and local Libertarian Party. Indeed, the largest donors to these free market think tanks tend to be generous donors of Republican campaigns as well. Second, the Cato Institute is Hayekian while the Libertarian Party is Rothbardian. Third, because of these ideological differences, the kind of people who get involved with the Libertarian Party consider Cato too centrist. I see the same dynamic here in Oregon where our own local Rothbardians who consider the ORP too centrist to vote for also reject the CPI’s signature issue of school choice, because they reject any government involvement in education of any kind. Perhaps that is why when you go to events and fundraisers for the CPI, the place gets packed with all the movement conservatives of the Oregon Republican Party. Again you seem to be forgetting that most libertarians vote for the Republican Party.

            I have never seen a CPI publication on gay marriage, but Cato’s legal scholars have worked on it extensively. They are not waffling on the issue but rather stand coherently consistent to their principles. It’s any conservative who simultaneously calls for a restoration of our Constitution while seeking to deny gay people marriage equality that does the waffling. The 14th Amendment is the Constitution too. Granting the equal protection of the law does not extend the scope of government policy.

          • Ron Swaren

            Now you’re putting words in my mouth. CPI and Libertarians are like hand and glove. Whether or not CPI and the LP are identical matters little to me—-they’re both blowhards, and their opinions are no more valuable than anyone else’s. Yet they show up everywhere expecting a place high on the agenda.

            “They are not waffling on the issue but rather stand coherently consistent to their principles.”

            Glad you know more than the common man. FYI, gays have a mental distortion to begin with, so don’t expect conceding what you think is a right—i.e granting them something which only in an assault upon reason could they possess–will actually lead to harmony. Their distortion tends to lead them to make more unreasonable demands. Unfortunately, their throttling of scientific inquiry into their mental issues has run ahead of revelation and understanding of the ways they would re-engineer our society if left to their devices. But, like the people of Troy, you can play the role of a sucker.

            You would really have a task convincing any of the ratifiers of the 14th Amendment that they would also have to legally legitimize two men, having governmental recognition of their partnership as ‘matrimony.’ You would have been laughed out of the saloon, onto the board walk, without your whiskey. The long term partnership of men and women to form families—-because humans need at least a decade and a half to mature—-is so intrinsic to our own, or really to all, cultures—-that something inheritently different, and which in itself can’t further the species, is a flat out contradiction in terms.

          • Eric Shierman

            How exactly did I put words in your mouth? I pointed out that you falsely claimed the Cascade Policy Institute runs political candidates. Do you deny saying that or do you stand by what you said? I pointed out that it is a mistake to assume that all or even most libertarians are connected with the Libertarian Party. Do you deny saying that or do you stand by what you said? I pointed out that it was a rather silly additional error for you to claim that these free market think tanks are front organizations for the Libertarian Party. Do you now deny saying that, or do you stand by what you said: which is it?

            The most salient fact that you seem to be missing however is that to whatever extent it is true to say “CPI and Libertarians are like hand and glove” the same can also be said for the CPI and the Oregon Republican Party, except that if you go to a CPI event or fundraiser you are MORE likely to see ORP operatives, donors, PCPs and other kinds of activists there than you are likely to see a member of the Libertarian Party.

            The CPI is Oregon’s premier, free-market think tank. If they are blowhards, then anyone who makes a difference for the good is a blowhard.

            Perhaps you are not a blowhard because you don’t make as much of a difference. Republican members of the Oregon legislature seek out CPI analysts for answers. When was the last time a conservative member of the Oregon legislature called you up and asked you for policy advice? Members of the CPI staff regularly testify in Salem and to regional and municipal governments, offering empirical research supporting the free market side of a policy debate. When was the last time you were ASKED to testify as an expert witness on a pending bill? CPI staff regularly publish free market commentary to the broader public. When did someone on the left ever stumble across anything you have published? CPI staff are regular guests on conservative radio shows across this state. When was the last time you were a guest on the Bill Post Radio Show? The CPI is asked to give a monthly update at every Executive Club meeting of the Oregon Taxpayers Association. When was the last time you even attended one?

            “Their opinions are no more valuable than anyone else’s” you say; then tell me: whose gets valued more? They don’t “show up everywhere expecting a place high on the agenda.” The CPI is INVITED to be in high conservative places, because their hard work is EXPECTED to set the agenda. If we are going to call anyone full of hot air, then I suppose it’s fair to ask, who has had more influence on this state: Steve Buckstein or Ron Swaren?

            Regarding gay marriage, a policy area that the CPI does not work in, but one that might prove fruitful for you to think more thoroughly through, on what basis do you claim that someone from the future, showing the ratifiers of the 14th Amendment one of many unforeseen applications on the intentionally general and sweeping language they voted for would be “laughed out of the saloon, onto the boardwalk” without whiskey? Explaining the Hollingsworth v Perry or the Windsor cases would not be much of a task at all.

            The authors of the 14th Amendment could have written narrowly worded language to only give the newly freed slaves citizenship, but the historical record shows they consciously wrote a sweepingly broad and general principle into constitutional law to prevent future generations of lawmakers from denying the equal protection of the law to any unforeseen group of people simply because they are different.

            Surely they would be somewhat surprised about any future changes in American society. If you were to tell them that a decade later the Union Army would be withdrawn from the South prematurely and Jim Crow laws would pop up in its place, they would find that more incredulous to believe than the possibility that US economic growth would compound to the point where marriage was no longer an economic necessity and it became a symbol of love instead and that having been freed from the economic need to have lots of children, homosexuals would start to live in their own communities dating only each other rather than cheating on a hetersexual wife. The way in which a new motive for marriage might arise in a prosperous post-agrarian economy where people could have 401ks instead of having 9 kids would seem more plausible than the need to call federal troops to escort black children to school in Little Rock, Arkansas.

            No doubt gay people are different from you and me. That was the intentional point of the 14th Amendment, to ensure that all people who are different are treated equally under the law. The equal protection of the law is not an unreasonable demand. What are the next unreasonable demands you fear gay people will ask for next? And how is a gay couple’s choice to get married an assault upon reason?

            Then there is this statement of yours:

            “Unfortunately, their throttling of scientific inquiry into their mental issues has run ahead of revelation and understanding of the ways they would re-engineer our society if left to their devices. But, like the people of Troy, you can play the role of a sucker.”

            Since Isaac Newton published Principia Mathematica, the world has been in such a constant state of “throttling of scientific inquiry” that technology and culture have continued to change apace and yet by every measurable metric we are better off now in the modern world. So how can gays getting married be any worse than any of the other ways our society has been changing? In terms of trojan horse like impacts, gay marriage seems to pale in comparison to the invention of the internal combustion engine or the passage of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Do you reject all innovation or just the less consequential ones like gay marriage?

          • Ron Swaren

            Who pulled your string, Eric? I think you have kind of gone off the deep end. This is a friendly blog, isn’t it? Sorry if I hit a deep nerve somewhere.

            I have had three articles on here regarding Portland transportation issues, plus submissions elsewhere and lots of testimony, including high level testimony to WA and OR and US House delegation on those—and these things, were it not for vigilant behavior by citizens, could run into tens of billions, easily. Some CPI people have participated meaningfully also. However I don’t agree with a core tenet of libertarian thinking that people would naturally behave without conflict if government intervention was eliminated. That’s a different field than questions of financial markets, and with that I sharply disagree. I agree our government role could be much smaller; however, part of the reason we are where we are, is because of earlier government intervention, so there is an awful LOT to argue there

            I’ve also worked pretty hard on the illegal immigration issue, which CPI doesn’t deal with from what I’ve seen. This is something which is seriously affecting the US economy, and recent analysis from USDA shows that we are losing a lot of market share in foodstuffs and importing more, increasing our deficit. For the connections see Prof. Phillip Martin of UC Davis and Krikorian of Ctr. For Imm. Studies. Speaking of which, illegal immigrants are dinging the US economy of about $45 billion/an through remittances, enlarging the current account deficit. Not to mention the $50 billion we spend on criminal prosecution and incarceration.

            If you feel strongly about the gay marriage issue and want to affect other people, why not submit an article here? Then you could see what other people think. However, you cannot tell me (aside from the fairness issue) that if 10 million new recipients are added to either Social Security rolls or VA rolls that this isn’t increasing the role of government. Plus the other attendant privileges they advocate. If you have economic statistics to show this somehow lessens our political burden, though, perhaps include them in your article?

          • Eric Shierman

            If one were to be described as having his string pulled, or that a nerve of his was hit, it would more likely be directed at the guy making crazily false accusations about an organization like the Cascade Policy Institute, compared to a guy like me rather prosaically defending them. For someone like yourself who’s only written a handful of articles for the Catalyst, and by your own description, done about as much policy work in your lifetime as a CPI staffer will do during a light month, to declare that “CPI is a bunch of hot air” it then seems ironic for you to consider my pointing out your errors as jeopardizing the friendly atmosphere of this blog.

            Taking the time to discuss and think through matters of political philosophy is actually a worthy way to spend one’s time. So if you “don’t agree with a core tenet of libertarian thinking that people would naturally behave without conflict if government intervention was eliminated.” Then the best way to use your time posting comments would be to engage on substantive matters, not false accusations. Indeed here we had an article about the drug war and the best you could come up with was a non sequitur suggestion that people not use drugs, and thus like the drug war itself ignoring actual human behavior which I also pointed out to you.

            A good discussion might afford you the opportunity to learn that what you think is a core tenant of libertarian thinking might not be. As I mentioned about Cato, the CPI too is Hayekian not Rothbardian. By advocating competition for government education dollars, they inherently accept government intervention in the funding of k-12 education. Similarly, John Charles does very effective work on light rail, but is also supportive of public transportation, showing how the rubber wheels of buses are more efficient than the steel wheels of trains. This assumes the legitimacy of government intervention to produce the public good of a transit system.

            The primary reason they don’t work on immigration is that the CPI is focused on local issues, and immigration is naturally seen as federal policy. I suspect there is another reason however, because they work so closely and are supported financially by so many conservatives it would be impossible for them to present real evidence on immigration, because the real evidence shows the net economic windfall we get from immigration.

            So many conservatives engage in such passionately irrational fear of immigrants that the same folks who seem to get that the government cannot centrally plan our economy simultaneously think it can centrally command an optimal level of immigration. I’d like to believe that’s not what you are doing, but given your mistaken assumption that the current account deficit is harmful or your singular focus on the small costs of immigrants while ignoring the massive amount of GDP they create for us, it sounds like you fit right in to the populist mold that seems to have taken over the GOP.

            I like Philip Martin because in all the various anti-immigration groups out there, he is the closest thing approaching a real economist, but I have never seen him utilize the Cobb Douglas Production Function, probably because he does not like what it would yield, but it’s impossible to do labor market analysis without Cobb Douglas so what’s the point? I’m only familiar with his peer reviewed work, so I haven’t read this research on market share you mentioned. Actually the whole premise in the way you described it is so counter intuitive that I would appreciate it if you could post for me a link to this apparently unpublished paper you are referring to. I’ll read it.

            Regarding my submitting an article about gay marriage. The editor of the Oregon Catalyst will not run it. I know this all too well since I wrote a weekly article for this blog from 2011-13. Indeed I remember you commenting under some of my stuff.

            Recall that I said the SCOPE of government policy does not increase with the equal protection of the law. The question of whether or not we should have a government run pension plan like Social Security is a question of the scope of government policy. If we were to arbitrarily exclude some people from that program it might result in net gains if the policy of having spousal benefits under SSI is itself a net loss in social welfare. But if that were the case it would not just be a mistake for gay couples; it would be a mistake to grant these benefits to any couple. Similarly, if spousal benefits make sense, then they would likely make sense for gay couples as well. The VA is a slightly different case because we are talking about compensation to an all volunteer force that affects retention. In both cases the burden of proof here lays on those who would discriminate, and the most remarkable thing about the Prop 8 and Doma cases was the absence of evidence on this question.

          • Ron Swaren

            “Conservatives should oppose the drug war”

            So,. we should allow Mexicans to ship in bales of marijuana, heroin packages stuffed into crevices in vehicles, cocaine packed in import items? I could agree that we need a new approach, I just don’t know if people can be trusted. Maybe if we profiled certain groups for extra monitoring, for their own good of course. But then the ACLU would have a fit. I had a relative who died young from alcohol related problems, who was in one of those groups ( known for wearing green and believing in mischievous dwarves) so I believe that various subcultures in our society might get carried too far, in the new climate of liberty. Just monitor them a bit–and send some nasty letters telling them to shape up.

          • Eric Shierman

            If it’s a mistake to use the coercive power of the state to prevent people from doing unhealthy things to themselves, then it does not matter if the marijuana is grown locally or imported from Mexico in the same way it does not matter if beer gets brewed at home or if bottles of Corona get imported from Mexico. Since an end to the drug war would mean a material end to smuggling, there is no rational reason to maintain the drug war to prevent smuggling.

            Notice that you mentioned death by alcohol, a similarly dangerous substance that was legalized because the alcohol related deaths under prohibition exceeded the alcohol related deaths before government mandated temperance.

          • Troy Grice

            If prohibition were abolished, smuggling (and gang violence and dosing and black market dealing) would cease to be necessary. You don’t appear to grasp the effects or unintended consequences of prohibition.

          • Ron Swaren

            I would also make a reasonable guess that through the Progressive GOP era of 1860 to 1910 the Republicans spent a LOT of federal money to accomplish their goals. Lincoln sure did. BTW, do you favor or oppose slavery? What is the free market analysis? If someone can go and get slaves somewhere and put em to work making a profit, why not? It’s not the owners fault if they run off somewhere and become charity cases is it?

          • Eric Shierman

            Slavery is a rather easy case for a free market analysis. A market is free if coercion is absent. So the presence of slavery is something that a Lockean Liberal government that protects only life, liberty, and property would exclude because involuntary labor means taking away another person’s liberty.

          • Troy Grice

            Republicans just don’t understand freedom. They are statists to the core. Marriage is a partnership contract. In a free country, consenting adults are free to enter into contracts.

          • Ron Swaren

            How do you fit children into that contract, Troy? Do they sign up on one party or the other’s obligation? And how do we know that a woman, during later term pregnancy, can uphold her end of the contract, whatever it may be? So, better write that into the contract—-all bets are off. And if the man has an injury and cannot fulfill his part of the contract, what then? He’s liable for damages under the contract? Could be, I suppose, but–ouch!! It could be a temporary lapse; we don’t always know.

            Should the contract specify the number of children authorized under the terms? Or when they can become part of the contract?—assuming you have some mechanism for incorporating them. But wouldn’t they be in limbo until they reach the age of majority. So if this had been the case in the 1800’s we could have had ten little humans in some twilight zone regarding the family contract.

            Then what if two lesbians decide to have a child at the same time and neither one can live up to the contract? Since it is a contract, I guess the judge would not have discretion to make a ruling that the family needs to stay together.

          • Troy Grice

            “What about the children?!?” The one-size-fits-all, last resort, rebuttal invoked by statists to justify any and all government coercion. Of course, the legal guardians of the children are responsible for them. What’s so complicated about that? Hate to break it to you but hetero-sexual “marriage” already is a partnership contract in legal terms. What difference does it make if the parents are hetero or homo?

          • Ron Swaren

            Can’t you have “promise” apart from “contract?” I think it is a bit belittling that you refer to all marriages via the dispassionate term “partnership contract.” That’s YOUR opinion. FYI, you’re not breaking anything to me, but your tone is more than obvious. Moreover, there is a distinction between Republican “conservatives,” and the religious “conservatives” that wept in, with the widespread disenchantment of what had become the Democrat culture of the 1980’s. The religious conservatives bear a large sense of responsibility, so things that other conservatives might accept as needed in their culture—–drinks, cigars, fast cars, big yachts—would usually be rejected as unneeded indulgences preventing them from assisting projects that they think are redemptive in our own society, or which establish trust between our nation and foreign cultures. Therefore what you view as a granted liberty, may be viewed by others within the conservative culture as hedonism. I don’t know what the Republicans have to do with it????? I do agree that some of the religious conservatives in the R party are intolerant sometimes. I do know that Republicans a century ago had been in the vanguard of helping others achieve liberty. I think that in many ways they still are—but now that liberty may not be understood merely by what happens in the polls.

        • Troy Grice

          You republicans keep rolling out anti-liberty candidates, then whine that libertarians won’t vote for them causing them to lose close elections. But that’s the whole point. Libertarians can make republicans lose close elections until they become more libertarian and they should continue to do so.

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