Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Some thoughts on the Jim Irsay arrest

I read an Associated Press article in the paper today that says police found multiple prescription drugs in the vehicle of Indianapolis Colts owner, Jim Irsay, during a Sunday night traffic stop.

The AP also reports that Irsay acknowledged a painkiller dependency more than a decade ago.

I know little about Mr. Irsay, but I have trouble understanding why either of these things amounts to a case for government action against Mr. Irsay.

The article gives no indication that the prescription medicines were not legally obtained, nor whether Mr. Irsay caused any injury or property damage while driving, or seemed to be at any significant risk of doing so.

I don't see why what a person voluntarily puts into his own body, whether for pleasure or for pain or for some other illness or condition, is any business of the those we pay in government to help safeguard our life, liberty, and property.

In our culture, the government requires a recommendation from a government-approved medical specialist (aka doctor) in order for a person to legally acquire certain medicines. Whether that is a good idea in a free society is a matter for another time.

Presumable, Mr. Irsay received such a recommendation, and he then made the decision to see whether the benefits of taking such medicine seem to outweigh the drawbacks for him.

That is the same type of decision that we all make on a daily basis, whether it has to do with the amount of sugar in our foods or beverages, taking medicine to control cholesterol, medicine to control blood pressure, medicine to control pain, medicine to control anxiety or depression, recreational use of alcoholic beverages, etc.

Other than listening to whatever advice we choose to from specialists and other parties affected by our choices, such as family, friends, and business associates, these decisions are, in the end, individual choices that each of us make, in our pursuit of happiness.

Unless our choices result in injury to others or damage to their property, there is no proper role for government in deciding whether our choices are allowed or forbidden.

I concur heartily with Lysander Spooner on this subject.

"Vices are those acts by which a man harms himself or his property. Crimes are those acts by which one man harms the person or property of another. Vices are simply the errors which a man makes in his search after his own happiness. Unlike crimes, they imply no malice toward others, and no interference with their persons or property. In vices, the very essence of crime --- that is, the design to injure the person or property of another --- is wanting."

"It is a maxim of the law that there can be no crime without a criminal intent; that is, without the intent to invade the person or property of another. But no one ever practices a vice with any such criminal intent. He practices his vice for his own happiness solely, and not from any malice toward others."

"Unless this clear distinction between vices and crimes be made and recognized by the laws, there can be on earth no such thing as individual right, liberty, or property; no such things as the right of one man to the control of his own person and property, and the corresponding and coequal rights of another man to the control of his own person and property. For a government to declare a vice to be a crime, and to punish it as such, is an attempt to falsify the very nature of things. It is as absurd as it would be to declare truth to be falsehood, or falsehood truth."

I also concur with Ron Paul, who write in "Liberty Defined", "Laws that prohibit the use of certain substances -- food, drugs, or alcohol -- by  adults is a dangerous intrusion on personal liberty."