The mission of the law

The mission of the law is not to oppress persons and plunder them of their property, even though the law may be acting in a philanthropic spirit. Its purpose is to protect persons and property … If you exceed this proper limit — if you attempt to make the law religious, fraternal, equalizing, philanthropic, industrial, or artistic — you will then be lost in uncharted territory, in vagueness and uncertainty, in a forced utopia or, even worse, in a multitude of utopias, each striving to seize the law and impose it on you.

The war on drugs

Thanks to the war on drugs, nearly 700,000 people were arrested in the United States for possession of marijuana in 1997, while 400,000 currently sit in prison for drug crimes — more than the entire prison population of Britain, Germany and Belgium — for what is a consensual act. Nearly $35 billion a year is spent on arresting, prosecuting and jailing drug criminals in the US — $400 million in Canada — to hammer at a crime which essentially harms no one but the drug user.

The effects of Prohibition

Alcohol didn’t cause the high crime rates of the ’20s and ’30s, Prohibition did. And drugs do not cause today’s alarming crime rates, but drug prohibition does … Trying to wage war on 23 million Americans who are obviously very committed to certain recreational activities is not going to be any more successful than Prohibition was.

Distinctions in society

Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth cannot be produced by human institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society — the farmers, mechanics and laborers — who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their government.