The following is The Vermont Libertarian Party response to David Sunderland’s recent diatribe against Libertarians. (SEE LETTER HERE: http://goo.gl/iP3nIu) Mr. Sunderland does not seem to understand a fundamental concept of Libertarianism: that we support the responsible exercise of rights. We support freedom for all who respect the equal freedom of others, for any action that isn’t hurting another. Mr Sunderland suggests that Libertarians would let violent criminals run wild in the streets. Nothing could be further from the truth. A prohibition against initiating violence is actually written right into our National membership pledge, and is the basis for most of our policy positions.
In 2012, about 750,000 people were arrested for marijuana law violations, only 88% of were for possession. We continue as a country to incarcerate an enormous number of people for non-violent drug offenses, who simply want to use drugs in the privacy of their homes. Incarceration only drives the distribution of drugs to criminal elements, an increase in violence, and an increase in the potency of the drugs. Legalizing and regulating drugs with reasonable measures, such as home-growing of marijuana by responsible adults, removes the profit for the criminal element and reduces violence. These lessons were learned with prohibition of alcohol.
Mr. Sunderland also fails to realize that the state of Vermont is already in the drug business. It operates the liquor stores in our state and without a doubt; alcohol is the number one gateway drug. This was established in a report to Congress by the Institute of Medicine of the Natural Academy of Sciences in 1999. Vermont is also in the gambling business. Anyone can go into a convenience and grocery store and see a plethora of scratch off and lottery tickets, yet a home poker game is illegal in Vermont.
The Libertarian Party believes that what a peaceful person does in his or her home is none of the government’s business. We believe that with rights, come responsibilities. Mr. Sunderland uses fear and the emotional reaction of people, a favorite tactic of those who wish to grow the scope of government, to suppress a rational discussion on these issues. An increasing majority of Vermonters agree that legalizing marijuana is the smart approach.
The Vermont Libertarian Party has always, and will continue in the future to advocate voluntary, human-scale solutions to problems in a way that keeps government out of Vermonter’s private lives as much as possible. One option being pursued by some of our members is raising awareness of the anti-addictive drug Ibogaine. We invite the legislature to learn more about it, and pass legislation in 2015 similar to the medical marijuana dispensary bill, allowing it to become an option for effectively treating substance use disorders. More Information: http://freevt.org/Ibogaine
Chair of the Vermont Libertarian Party, Jeremy Ryan, stated “It should be clear that Libertarians don’t support irresponsible use of drugs. While we do support the right for people to choose what they wish to eat, drink, smoke or otherwise, we would never condone anyone stealing or using force against another. That is why we won’t be repealing laws against violence, theft or fraud, or taking advantage of people not capable of making an informed decision. As on most issues, we are pro choice on the issue of drugs as long as you aren’t harming another”.
It’s clear that the “Drug War” hasn’t worked. It’s expensive to fight, and driving the market underground can result in a far more dangerous product being distributed. If we ended prohibition, we could significantly increase resources available for treatment and crime prevention.
About Vermont Libertarian Party
The Vermont Libertarian Party is an affiliate of The National Libertarian Party. The motto of the VTLP is “Small Government, Low Taxes, More Freedom.” The VTLP has been more or less active in the Green Mountain State since the early 1980s. Despite the relatively small size of our state Party, the Libertarian Party is the largest third party in the country and is driving a renaissance in libertarian thinking in this country.
Contact Vermont Libertarian Party:
Jeremy Ryan, Chair
Vermont Libertarian Party
PO Box 5475
Burlington VT 05402-5475