So the government is talking about prohibition as an answer to cryptocurrency? Will they never learn?
One of my favorite bars in Boston (a town of great bars) is on Beacon Hill and it’s called “The 21st Amendment.” The 21st amendment repealed the 18th amendment, which made alcohol illegal in the United States. Being right next to the Massachusetts State House, the 21st Amendment gets lots of politicians and staffers drinking in there on a regular basis, or they did before Covid. I hope they all appreciate the important lesson:
Prohibition never works. Even for “LYVING“
What’s lyving? It’s a made up word for the purposes of our conversation. Let’s define it as “the thing that most people what to prohibit.” It can be heroin, sex-work, cutting hair without a license, building your own house, using an alternate currency, living the lifestyle that is right for you… — Laws are too often used to prohibit you from doing something that is your natural right as the owner of yourself. We’re going to use the word “lyving” to mean “that prohibited thing.”
Simply put when someone tries to make lyving illegal, a black market arises, to meet the needs of the people who want to partake in lyving. Try to keep lyving out of an area? Smugglers will appear to deliver what people want. Want to make lyving illegal? The lyving market will go underground. But it won’t go away.
Free markets are great because in a free market, everyone involved in a transaction consents to it completely and thinks that the transaction benefits them in some way. If there was no benefit to you from a transaction, why would you consent to it? Prohibition replaces free markets with black markets. Prohibition makes it possible for one party in a trade to be coerced because of the dangers of engaging in an “illegal activity”. If you are selling something that is illegal you are vulnerable to blackmail and extortion. You have no legal recourse if you are a victim of fraud or violence. And of course if lyving becomes illegal, everyone who lyves is now a criminal. Why would we want to make criminals out of people who are engaged in consensual activities?
Any prohibition mandated by any government is a restriction of personal liberty, and when the government fights against personal liberty, the costs are devastating Every person can point to something and say “the world would be a better place if we didn’t have worry about lyving.” If your lyving is drugs, you know that over 70,000 people died from drug overdoses in the United States in 2019. We all wish those numbers were significantly lower. The cost of prohibition though has been devastating. The war on drugs is in reality a war on people.
Many people worry that ending prohibition of lyving will negatively impact our society because lyving is dangerous.
They could be right! One of my big issues right now is the extreme danger to children of rare earth magnets. If you read about it, it’s truly horrible. The answer though is education, not prohibition. And you can make that same argument about anything that has risk associated with it. The government is not supposed to protect us from risk or harm. The government is supposed to help us defend our civil liberties. Those two sentences are diametrically opposed to each other.
The answer to our problems is to prohibit all prohibitions. If we put more effort educating people about risks, rather than telling people that the world is safe because all risky things have been prohibited, we would actually have a safer world. And a world in which we respect each other to the point that even greater communication and education is possible.
So the next time you hear someone talking about prohibition for anything — you know what to say!
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