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The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom

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Tags Free MarketsLegal SystemThe Police StatePhilosophy and Methodology

01/11/2016Laurence M. Vance

Alcohol abuse and heavy tobacco use are two of the leading causes of death in the United States. It seems rather ludicrous to advocate the outlawing of drugs and not the outlawing of alcohol and tobacco. (p. 11) Vance writes from a viewpoint that will surprise many readers. He himself does not condone the use of dangerous drugs. To the contrary, he is a Christian and a Bible scholar of considerable note and he regards their use as sinful. "As an adherent to the ethical principles of the New Testament, I regard drug abuse to be a vice, a sin, and an evil that Christians should avoid even as they avoid supporting the government's war on drugs" (p. 79).

If Vance takes this view of drug use, why is he so adamant that people have the right to consume these drugs? His answer will be of interest to all students of moral theology. He holds that Christians can with perfect consistency uphold the distinction between vices and crimes, with only the latter an appropriate area for forcible suppression.


Note: The views expressed on are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.

Contact Laurence M. Vance

Laurence M. Vance is an Associated Scholar of the Mises Institute, columnist and policy adviser for the Future of Freedom Foundation, and a columnist, blogger, and book reviewer at He is also the author of Gun Control and the Second AmendmentThe War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom, and War, Empire and the Military: Essays on the Follies of War and U.S. Foreign Policy. His newest books are Free Trade or Protectionism? and The Free Society. Visit his website:

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