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Our Right to Drugs

“Please, sir. . . may I have some more?”
The Analysis of a Paternalistic Government
A Report on Our Right to Drugs by Thomas Szasz
You might be tempted to label Thomas Szasz, author of Our Right to Drugs, The Case for a Free Market, a counter-culture hippie.However, this analysis couldn't be further from the truth.Szasz, a Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the State University of New York Health Science Center in Syracuse, is a major supporter of civil liberties.He sees the so-called “War on Drugs” as one of the worst atrocities that the American Government has perpetrated on its people.Szasz contends that the prohibition of certain drugs, including common prescription drugs, is nothing more than the government telling the people that “father knows best”.It is this paternalistic attitude that Szasz finds so oppressive.
Mr. Szasz makes three key arguments throughout his book.First, the “War on Drugs” is a failure and can never succeed.It should be stopped immediately.Second, drug legalization is not a viable answer.It would only turn into another attempt by the government to control drugs and would not be any more of a free market than the current system of drug prohibition.Third, he proposes a solution.The solution is to end all drug regulation by the government; in effect, creating a free market for drugs.He doesn't stop at illicit drugs, however.He also includes prescription drugs in this solution as well.He sees the government's drug control policy as an attempt by the government to control its population, much like a parent controls his/her children.
In order to get at what Mr. Szasz is saying, we mustfirst examine his definition of what a free market is.Szasz defines the free market as “the right of every competent adult to trade in goods and services.” (Szasz, page 2).In other words, he is outlining a laissez-faire system of the free market.Szasz contends that the …

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