Friday 30 January 2004

Who speaks for freedom?

Scotland's first "cannabis cafe" has now opened and the inevitable has happened:
Three people were arrested for drugs offences at Scotland’s first cannabis cafe, police said last night.

The arrest of the two men and a woman for possession of cannabis at the Purple Haze Cafe coincided with the reclassification of the drug, from class B to class C, which came into force yesterday.

If the Conservatives had any gumption, they would be explaining that governments have no right to tell people what they can and can't do with their own bodies. As well as being right, such a stance might actually get the Tories some support from the younger generation as well as from the many older folk who realise that the war on drugs is a total nonsense. But no, what we get is this:
Annabel Goldie, the Tories’ justice spokeswoman, said the government’s mixed messages had given a green light to those who think that they are above the law.
Unsurprisingly, the full force of the law was ready for this dire threat to civilisation:
He (a police spokesman) added that officers had been maintaining a presence outside the cafe and had warned customers they could be arrested if seen with any illegal substances.
Well, it's less hassle than catching burglars I suppose.

To answer my question at the top of this post, the Scottish Socialists are speaking for freedom!

Last night, an SSP spokesman said police should not be "wasting their time" prosecuting cannabis users. "We have to stop criminalising people for what after all is a victimless crime," he said.
A victimless crime indeed. It's such a pity that the comrades can't follow the logic of this argument, which inevitably leads to a demand for laissez-faire capitalism. Perhaps I should send the SSP a copy of Socialism by Ludwig von Mises. The dust jacket of this wonderful book announces:
Here is at once the purest, intellectually most powerful and most uncompromising statement of the extreme anti-collectivist case.
It's quite simple really: Our bodies should be free, our commerce should be free, our lives should be free. As long as we don't initiate force or fraud we should be free to do what we damn well want.