The Legalization of Prostitution, Gambling, Drug Use
On the "Legalization" of Prostitution, Gambling and/or Drug Use
I dislike using the word "legalization" because it implies, to many people, approval of the action in question, and this makes it difficult to focus on the question of individual right. The term "legalization" most often refers to the elimination of laws which make criminals of those who participate, not to give approval of anything. So, how do we decide what should be a criminal offence and what shouldn’t?
To me, the basic premise is the right of individual liberty. It is one of the three rights mentioned in the Declaration of Independence along with life and the pursuit of happiness. Our Constitution states that it’s purpose is "to secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity----", and that no State shall
"deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
What need is there for any legislation at all other than to inhibit those who would deny or infringe upon the rights of others? If we can agree on this, then we need to ask ourselves: Does prostitution, gambling or using marijuana, in and of themselves, deny or infringe upon anyone’s rights? Of course, there are instances of abuse, e.g. sex slavery, and anyone forcing another to indulge in prostitution, gambling or drug use against their will should be restrained by law. This is not the same as voluntary participation. Youth should, of course, be protected by law from those who would entice them into any of the three practices in question; but no consenting adult should be made a criminal. Doing so violates their right to liberty.
Of those who think that government should protect people from thenselves, I would ask: Who is to decide what people, under what circumstances, should be thus protected? And, what politician or government agency is justified in having the arrogance to make such a decision? This controlling approach seems to emanate from an attitude of self-righteousness which, in turn, has its basis in religion. If there is any other logical way to look at this, I would like to hear it.