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This is a particularly difficult topic due to the simple fact that so many people are affected by drugs and have and are destroying their lives and the lives of the people that surround them. Taking a stand on this topic, based solely on principle is tough. However, as we promised you from the beginning, we won’t knowingly lie, twist fact, massage number or evade topics. So here it is, our take on drugs.


Before we can even begin to discuss drugs, we need to clarify which drugs are we talking about. Fair enough, in a nutshell we are talking about any and all drugs. We are talking about soft drugs and hard drugs, we are talking about medicinal quality and kitchen quality drugs, we are talking about regulated, un-regulated and illegal drugs, we are talking about pills and liquids, injectables, smokables, sniffables, diffusionables, breathables and any other intake method.

So that we are clear then, when we talk about drugs we are talking about all drugs irrespective of their physical, medical or legal characteristics.


Our position regarding drugs is quite simple. As indicated in the Master Contract, we state that property rights are absolute. Our body belongs to each one of us, therefore our rights regarding our body are absolute. Therefore, it is our right to take any drug in any quantity for any reason at any time and through any intake method we so desire. Period.


Non-destructive drug users

Before this issue gets blown out of all proportions and people begin to speak about a “drug epidemic”, let’s place things into perspective. Let’s be frank. Almost all of us take drugs. Some smoke (nicotine), some drink (alcohol), some take prescription drugs and some take illegal drugs. We do it for many different reasons ranging from trying to get our health back to purely recreational or relaxing purposes or even addiction.

Knowing this fact, we observe that society is not being consumed by an orgy of drug-induced destruction and mayhem. Why? Because most drug-takers (i.e. you, us, and almost everybody else) take drugs in moderation but more importantly, we are able to maintain our responsibilities. This is a fact, today.

In an Absolute Austro-Libertarian system, this would not change. According to our principles, if we damage a property (including inducing a physical or mental injury) without a contract allowing us to do so, we are responsible with our property for the full amount of the damage.

Therefore, for as long as there is no damage, there are no issues.

As we have observed even when on drugs, most of us are not destructive. Therefore we see no problem here. From this point of view, which represents the vast majority of the population, there is no need to curtail or restrict drug use.

Destructive but responsible drug users

Let’s analyze now the small percentage of drug users that are destructive of other people’s property. To begin with, just because they were on drugs, this does not redeem them being fully responsible for their acts. As long as the drugs were taken voluntarily, no matter how diminished their mental abilities were at the time the destructive act took place, they are still responsible.

When damage occurs, the issue becomes a strict matter between the person who damaged the property and the owner of said property. This was clearly described in our lesson Justice In The Austro Libertarian System.

How about when people take drugs in-voluntarily? We have discussed this point previously and we do not agree that there is such a thing as “in-voluntary” in terms of forcing a person to do something. Therefore, the only way in which this would apply would be if the drugs were somehow introduced into this person’s system without their knowledge. Then, and only then, they are not responsible for the damage. This responsibility falls on the person the introduced the drugs.

So, even in this group of destructive drug users, the vast majority of the people will be held responsible and will pay for all the damages. Therefore we reach the same conclusion as for the previous group. There is no reason to curtail drug use based on a small percentage of destructive drug users.

Destructive and irresponsible drug users

We are now reaching to the very bottom of the pile. We need to address those few (very few actually) that are drug users, they do so voluntarily, they are destructive but they totally, completely, and irrevocably refuse to be responsible for any damage.

In this category we find mentally ill people (let’s assume the worst case scenario and suppose their illness was caused by drugs), hard-core users with exceedingly heavy and uncontrollable addictions and drugged criminals.

Any one of these conditions would lead a drug user to either destroy or steal property. What is then our point of view?

In our lesson Justice In The Austro Libertarian System we indicated that the first remedy for property damage is compensation. Let’s assume these people have no property that can be used to compensate for the damage. The second remedy is labor, the owner of the damaged property owns the labor of these people until the debt is settled. Let’s assume these people are incapable or unwilling to work. Then what?

According to our view of the Libertarian Justice System, these people have lost all their rights in relation to their creditors except for the fact that they are not slaves. Therefore we have two options, we can let them go or we can lock them up.

This decision is a personal one. Letting them go would imply a so-called “moral hazard”. This is, because there are no repercussions they may do it again. Locking them up implies an ongoing expense which the creditor may not be willing to pay.

This would seem a dead-end scenario, alas, it is not.

Austro-Libertarianism to the rescue

Austrian Economics is based on the notion that we are selfish. We do things based on our own best interest. In a truly free market there will be insurance coverage for just such episodes. In the same manner that we insure our cars or we insure our liability against damaging other people, there will be insurance for just these events. The insurance may pay us or it may pay for containment for those people.

Specializing companies will probably take over such responsibility (simple division of labor), most likely with the purpose of extracting useful labor out of inmates. It would be in these companies’ best interests to treat inmates in an attempt to stabilize them and revert them back into productive people. This is so because the more functioning inmates they have, the higher their profits. It will also be in our best interest that inmates are treated so that they may go back to work and we may recuperate some of our expenses.

Above all, we must remember that even when such people may be interned in institutions, they are not slaves. They still own their bodies and hence any physical or psychological damage to their bodies is still damage deserving of compensation. This ensures they will be well treated.

Additionally, in a town or city, most people will be worried that destructive and irresponsible drug users may be released into the neighbourhood and would probably gladly pay companies to maintain suitable facilities. There may even be contractual arrangements in geographic locations demanding the payment of instalments for such circumstances as a condition of property purchase or rental.

Some places will be lenient, some other places not so much. For as long as there is profit to be made, the free market will come up with solutions. These are just few examples.

How is this different from current laws? To begin with, current laws regarding destructive and irresponsible drug users are ineffective. They prevent nothing and give back nothing to the creditors. As a matter of fact, the system is saturated and crumbling. Most of the taxes we pay are not directed to our priorities. In our system we decide how do we want to treat this problem and how much are we willing to pay for a solution.

Furthermore, the current system is not geared towards treatment but towards incarceration since there is no incentive to treat. Therefore, new treatments that may be successful are not attempted.

In the end we must be clear in stating we do not have the solution. People have struggled with this problem almost since the beginning of human written history. What we do have is a better solution, a more adaptable solution, a more creative solution and a more effective solution. Is it ever going to be perfect? No. Never. Freedom is not free, there is always a price to be paid.

We are all responsible

In a system where we are fully responsible for our actions and we cannot hide behind formulaic laws and regulations, we will exercise our responsibilities far fuller than in our current systems. What this means is that we will take less drugs and we will try that our friends and relatives do the same. Not because of some sort of ethical, moral or religious rationale, but because of self-interest. If a friend or relative may be going on drugs, this person may destroy our property (including our lives). It is in our best interest to ensure this does not happen or at least to minimize its impact. When we are not limited by laws, our behaviour is only limited by our responsibilities and our selfish desires. This pushes us to much higher extremes and higher efficiencies than to simply “fulfill our civic or religious, moral or ethical duty”.

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

Continue to Drugs for everybody - Part 2


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