A Question for Libertarians

I was at Target the other day getting Powerbars when I noticed there is a restriction on the sale of Sudafed. Apparently, folks are taking this very legal and widespread pharmaceutical and cooking it up to make crystal methamphetamin and governments (local and state) are finding it easier to restrict access to this vital precursor than it is to fund world-class burn wards for the morons that are cooking it up in section 8 apartments lined with duct tape and plastic sheeting.

Is this an unreasonable restriction on commerce? After all, there is nothing illegal about Sudafed.

While most of the time I'm against the government restricting something, this one I just don't care about. Last I heard the restriction was that you could only buy one box of medication containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine per day (or one per costumer, something like that). If you are using this drug for legal purposes, that box should last you at least a week for the smaller boxes. I've never known someone to go out and grab two or three boxes of antihistamines at one time. So a person using these legally shouldn't even notice the restriction.

PurEvil wrote:

While most of the time I'm against the government restricting something, this one I just don't care about. Last I heard the restriction was that you could only buy one box of medication containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine per day (or one per costumer, something like that). If you are using this drug for legal purposes, that box should last you at least a week for the smaller boxes. I've never known someone to go out and grab two or three boxes of antihistamines at one time. So a person using these legally shouldn't even notice the restriction.

Well, expect Bagga to ask for your LP card....

The "not noticing a restriction" dealio is not the sort of argument that you'll want to make to keep Libertarians coming to your cookouts. One could just as easily make the argument that most law-abiding citizens would not notice the inability to buy crack pipes, pseudo-snuff pornography, or large quantities of sugar (often used in making moonshine).

They wouldn't have to worry about restricting the sale of Sudafed if crystal meth was legal

Again, instead of simply making it a little more difficult to something "illegal," why not work to make the reason somebody's creating that substance moot? This is exactly the same as restricting glass pipe sales or anything else. It may not affect you personally, but the restriction on freedom is troubling to me anyway.

The "not noticing a restriction" dealio is not the sort of argument that you'll want to make to keep Libertarians coming to your cookouts. One could just as easily make the argument that most law-abiding citizens would not notice the inability to buy crack pipes, pseudo-snuff pornography, or large quantities of sugar (often used in making moonshine).

Don't crack down on me using the "extension argument" if you're going to use it yourself

While we've already argued the sale of crack pipes, and I'm not even going to get into porno, I just wanted to point out that buying large quantities of sugar could be perfectly legit. Diners/Bakeries/etc get better deals by buying in bulk. A person could have a big party they're cooking up sweets for, and buy a lot of sugar just to make sure they have enough. The only thing a lot of sugar is going to do is make you obese. Crystal and I really don't buy sugar much anymore, but we do buy pretty large amounts of Splenda. And I can tell ya, with her cookin', sugar/splenda can go fast! But it's damn good

But sudafed doesn't have a large scale use like sugar, unless you're addicted (which is quite easy, even for the average non-drug user), you're not using it for it's intended purpose, or you're a pharmacy (in which this argument would be pointless). The drug is highly addictive because over time your body will lose control of your immune system. You'll start reacting to everything, and use more antihistamines to feel better. It probably should have been a controlled substance to begin with.

Again, controlling the use of the substance should be my responsibility, not the government's or Target's. Target has the right to restrict the sale of Sudafed, but shouldn't be forced to by the government. What if I run, say, a summer camp for high-school-aged kids, and there is a nasty cold going around, and the parents have asked me to provide medication to kids to treat the symtoms? Well, I couldn't go and buy it now because of this law. Of course it's totally hypothetical, off the top of my head, and probably a lousy example, but you get my point. I don't need the government telling me what I can and can't buy and use, period.

PurEvil wrote:

Don't crack down on me using the "extension argument" if you're going to use it yourself

While we've already argued the sale of crack pipes, and I'm not even going to get into porno, I just wanted to point out that buying large quantities of sugar could be perfectly legit. Diners/Bakeries/etc get better deals by buying in bulk. A person could have a big party they're cooking up sweets for, and buy a lot of sugar just to make sure they have enough. The only thing a lot of sugar is going to do is make you obese. Crystal and I really don't buy sugar much anymore, but we do buy pretty large amounts of Splenda. And I can tell ya, with her cookin', sugar/splenda can go fast! But it's damn good

But sudafed doesn't have a large scale use like sugar, unless you're addicted (which is quite easy, even for the average non-drug user), you're not using it for it's intended purpose, or you're a pharmacy (in which this argument would be pointless). The drug is highly addictive because over time your body will lose control of your immune system. You'll start reacting to everything, and use more antihistamines to feel better. It probably should have been a controlled substance to begin with.

Ya got me. I guess what I'm saying is that there is no shame in making comprimises. Being an absolutist makes the extension argument legitimate. Having the flexibility to make the rules as you go (and subject to change based on outcomes) is part of living in a civil society.

I love that I live in a society that puts a premium on individual freedom, but I'm also aware that my quality of life could be seriously affected by a fundamentalist devotion to those principles.

Oh, and btw, my roommate in college got a visit from the ATF in my freshman year for buying 200lb.s of sugar.

Oh, and btw, my roommate in college got a visit from the ATF in my freshman year for buying 200lb.s of sugar.

Ok, I'll take the bait. Why on Earth did your roommate buy 200lbs of sugar? I have to know

DrunkenSleipnir wrote:
Oh, and btw, my roommate in college got a visit from the ATF in my freshman year for buying 200lb.s of sugar.

Ok, I'll take the bait. Why on Earth did your roommate buy 200lbs of sugar? I have to know :)

Hint: the "A" in ATF.

baggachipz wrote:

Again, controlling the use of the substance should be my responsibility, not the government's or Target's. Target has the right to restrict the sale of Sudafed, but shouldn't be forced to by the government. What if I run, say, a summer camp for high-school-aged kids, and there is a nasty cold going around, and the parents have asked me to provide medication to kids to treat the symtoms? Well, I couldn't go and buy it now because of this law. Of course it's totally hypothetical, off the top of my head, and probably a lousy example, but you get my point. I don't need the government telling me what I can and can't buy and use, period.

Hmm... the only thing I can make as an argument (since I'm not even really sure what the restriction entales), is that this may be a restriction on personal sales. If you were running a summer camp, you could speak to the pharmacist to get around the restriction, since you have obvious need for a larger quantity of the drug. You might have to fill out some paperwork, but I seriously doubt they would refuse to sell it to you. You would probably have to pay with it from a company account (you'd want to in this case anyway, because a camp's insurance would cover this type of incident), but you'd still be able to get it to the children you are responsible for.

The other thing is, is this a government restriction or a company restriction? I just recently heard about it a couple days ago on the radio, so I'm a little in the dark.

Paleocon wrote:
DrunkenSleipnir wrote:
Oh, and btw, my roommate in college got a visit from the ATF in my freshman year for buying 200lb.s of sugar.

Ok, I'll take the bait. Why on Earth did your roommate buy 200lbs of sugar? I have to know :)

Hint: the "A" in ATF.

But...but...200lbs!? I used a gallon of honey once, and I think that's my upper end for production. Damn.

Paleocon wrote:
DrunkenSleipnir wrote:
Oh, and btw, my roommate in college got a visit from the ATF in my freshman year for buying 200lb.s of sugar.

Ok, I'll take the bait. Why on Earth did your roommate buy 200lbs of sugar? I have to know :)

Hint: the "A" in ATF.

You do realize that's a good argument for the government to restrict the sale of large quantities of sugar, right? If you had said, "He was making a sh*t-load of cupcakes", they would have looked like idiots.

PurEvil wrote:
Paleocon wrote:
DrunkenSleipnir wrote:
Oh, and btw, my roommate in college got a visit from the ATF in my freshman year for buying 200lb.s of sugar.

Ok, I'll take the bait. Why on Earth did your roommate buy 200lbs of sugar? I have to know :)

Hint: the "A" in ATF.

You do realize that's a good argument for the government to restrict the sale of large quantities of sugar, right? If you had said, "He was making a sh*t-load of cupcakes", they would have looked like idiots.

This was back during the Reagan Administration. Okay, I'm old, but you knew that.

Anyway, the ATF came around after he bought 200 pounds of sugar suspecting that he was operating a still in our dormroom. Turns out they were wrong, but it wasn't a bad assumption. He was, after all, a redneck from East Tennessee.

Oh, sorry, misunderstood. DS asked why he bought the sugar, and you (indirectly) said for alcohol.

So... you didn't answer the question. What was the sugar really for?

PurEvil wrote:

Oh, sorry, misunderstood. DS asked why he bought the sugar, and you (indirectly) said for alcohol.

So... you didn't answer the question. What was the sugar really for?

Putting in people's gas tanks.

That's messed up. So he was still doing something illegal.

PurEvil wrote:

That's messed up. So he was still doing something illegal. :lol:

Yup. He was a complete miscreant. We got along great.

Another question for Libertarians... Given the discussion about the new HPV vaccination, how does a Libertarian reconcile the issues of public health (eg: Polio eradication and mandatory vaccination) and the sanctity of individual choice? Does an individual have the "right" to be a carrier for an infectious disease?

Paleocon wrote:

Another question for Libertarians... Given the discussion about the new HPV vaccination, how does a Libertarian reconcile the issues of public health (eg: Polio eradication and mandatory vaccination) and the sanctity of individual choice? Does an individual have the "right" to be a carrier for an infectious disease?

The standard definition of "liberal" (not Liberal) should answer most any question in a general sense.

"Your rights end when they impede on the rights of others"

Of couse, I can't speak for everyone, but this is the usually rule I apply.

Paleocon wrote:

Another question for Libertarians... Given the discussion about the new HPV vaccination, how does a Libertarian reconcile the issues of public health (eg: Polio eradication and mandatory vaccination) and the sanctity of individual choice? Does an individual have the "right" to be a carrier for an infectious disease?

Personally, I'd say they have a right.

Realistically I'd say any "choice" would be largely non-existent. Colleges require vaccines, and given the choice, I imagine only a very small percentage of people would elect not to receive a vaccine they felt was safe. Were vaccines optional, I wouldn't be surprised to see employers requiring their employees to be vaccinated against especially deadly viruses.

Paleocon wrote:

Another question for Libertarians... Given the discussion about the new HPV vaccination, how does a Libertarian reconcile the issues of public health (eg: Polio eradication and mandatory vaccination) and the sanctity of individual choice?

Pragmatism.

Ideologically, we oppose the government forcing us to take drugs against our will, even truly beneficial ones. However, we know that we are in the minority and the rest of you will hold us down and do it anyway. Doesn't mean we can't break out our soapboxes and pontificate.

Now ask me about ritalin...

Paleocon wrote:

Another question for Libertarians... Given the discussion about the new HPV vaccination, how does a Libertarian reconcile the issues of public health (eg: Polio eradication and mandatory vaccination) and the sanctity of individual choice? Does an individual have the "right" to be a carrier for an infectious disease?

#1. The indivdual never gets a choice about whether they are getting a vaccine or not.. it is their parents that make this decision for them. I do not know if it is legal to hold vaccination for your children, but I am sure it is under religious grounds. You can just forget about public education or going to college as none of those will accept you without the vaccinations.

#2. HPV has evolved to the the point where it co-exists with us and does not kill us often, just like Influenza. Why prevent its transmission? Doing this might make the virus evolve into something nastier... I don't want that. It is not like we are talking about having a "Typhoid Mary" walking around.. what are the estimates that 30% of us already have this virus anyway?

As far as Sudafed, my main problem with the whole restriction thing is they've moved all that stuff behind the pharmacy counter, so if you need medicine after pharmacy hours, well too bad.

If I don't want to get a vaccine I shouldn't have to. If I carry a disease, who cares, if everyone else is vaccinated it won't matter to them. People that aren't vaccinated and might catch it knew what risk they were taking when they refused the vaccine.

#2. HPV has evolved to the the point where it co-exists with us and does not kill us often, just like Influenza. Why prevent its transmission?

Because it *causes* certain common forms of cervical cancer. That is, it's not harmless, as was previously thought.

Even in a libertarian paradise, infectious disease control should be a government mandate, because it can affect the whole population. If the government does not have the right to quarantine people against their will, or require large-scale vaccinations for common diseases, then Bad Things happen. As I child, I met people who had contracted polio. You ever know anyone to get it? How about whooping cough? One of my mother's siblings died of that, gasping for breath after literally coughing up the lining of his throat. Measles was once a feared killer of children (although there is also evidence that it's become milder over time). Smallpox was endemic in populations of European descent and flared often before vaccines. Ever known anyone who spent two years in a sanatorium recovering from tuberculosis?

Any disease control measures that are voluntary will be relatively ineffective, especially when the disease spreads quickly and is not easily detected in the early stages. Quarantine and vaccination are effective tools and should be mandated in any society, libertarian or not.

If I don't want to get a vaccine I shouldn't have to. If I carry a disease, who cares, if everyone else is vaccinated it won't matter to them.

This makes no sense, since if you don't have to get vaccinated, they don't either. What you are claiming is the right to infect others. And that's different from claiming the right to swing your fist into someone's face, because with many infectious diseases, the result won't be a bloody nose, but death or disability.

Unless what you what is a society with no protection against infectious disease, mandatory vaccination is essential.

Robear wrote:

This makes no sense, since if you don't have to get vaccinated, they don't either. What you are claiming is the right to infect others. And that's different from claiming the right to swing your fist into someone's face, because with many infectious diseases, the result won't be a bloody nose, but death or disability.

Unless what you what is a society with no protection against infectious disease, mandatory vaccination is essential.

I think what he's saying is that they are entitled to a right to be unprotected. Everyone can get vaccinated - most people, given the chance to take a safe vaccine, would get vaccinated - but they can also choose not to, and face the consequences.

Realistically, the whole issue of mandatory vaccines in a Libertarian state is a non-issue. Your stories of death at the hands of disease still circulate among the young such as myself; people will recognize the benefit and protect themselves and their children from communicable diseases.

Staats wrote:
Robear wrote:

This makes no sense, since if you don't have to get vaccinated, they don't either. What you are claiming is the right to infect others. And that's different from claiming the right to swing your fist into someone's face, because with many infectious diseases, the result won't be a bloody nose, but death or disability.

Unless what you what is a society with no protection against infectious disease, mandatory vaccination is essential.

I think what he's saying is that they are entitled to a right to be unprotected. Everyone can get vaccinated - most people, given the chance to take a safe vaccine, would get vaccinated - but they can also choose not to, and face the consequences.

Realistically, the whole issue of mandatory vaccines in a Libertarian state is a non-issue. Your stories of death at the hands of disease still circulate among the young such as myself; people will recognize the benefit and protect themselves and their children from communicable diseases.

I think your faith in people's rationality is misguided. Especially since we have evidence that fundy religious groups are already preaching against the necessity or ethics of mandatory vaccinations for HPV.

The HPV vaccine is probably the biggest cancer breakthrough we've had in a long time, especially for the 3rd world. See http://www.sciencedaily.com/upi/inde...
for more details.

Minase wrote:

The HPV vaccine is probably the biggest cancer breakthrough we've had in a long time, especially for the 3rd world. See http://www.sciencedaily.com/upi/inde...
for more details.

From your article:

"In the United States, 14,000 women annually are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and around 4,000 will die, according to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition. But developing countries have carried most of cervical cancer's burden, accounting for about 85 percent of total annual cases. Many of these women don't have access to pap smears, a medical procedure which can detect cervical cancer early."

If that doesn't scream out to the necessity of a mandatory public health initiative, folks need to change religions.

Paleocon wrote:

I think your faith in people's rationality is misguided. Especially since we have evidence that fundy religious groups are already preaching against the necessity or ethics of mandatory vaccinations for HPV.

I'm not thinking HPV, I'm thinking whooping cough, TB... the deadly, scary stuff, stuff that brings down the country. Given the choice to risk contracting a debilitating/deadly disease or voluntarily submit to a safe vaccine, I believe people would take the vaccine. Sadly, I have no way to prove it.

HPV is a different sort of argument. It is far from deadly (at least in any immediate sense) and certainly less difficult to pass on. It's easy to see parents choosing not to administer it to their child, and considering the consequence of that decision - continuation of our current HPV situation, which unless I'm missing something seems to be far from disaster - I'm OK with that.

Also: don't be a fool, wrap your tool! Happy Friday everyone!