Cultural Conservatism: Discouraging Drug Use Through the Free Market
Everyone is familiar with the terms cultural marxism and social liberalism, seeing as how pervasive leftist ideas are in academia, the media, and entertainment.
But very few have considered the ideas of cultural conservatism before. What if we were able to promote traditional values through the very same mediums that the left utilizes?
The downfall of libertarianism is that many libertarians come across as pro-drugs, when all the philosophy dictates is that you should not be thrown in jail for what you consume, since property rights are at the crux of our beliefs. A very simple and noble idea, yet libertarians fail to adequately market this basic message because many choose to promote drug use instead of property rights.
This alienates an enormous demographic of Americans who are repulsed to drug use, and shy away from libertarian thought when they see libertarians promoting the behavior over the right. They are led to believe that libertarianism is about using marijuana instead of defending one’s right not to be arrested if they choose to consume it. So let’s change that narrative.
You can be a libertarian and be against drug use, like many of us at Liberty Hangout are. In fact, I’d begin to wager that if you are against drugs, the best way to discourage its use is through the free market.
Adopting libertarian ideals and promoting private property rights is the best solution for promoting a healthy and productive society. If you think it’s too easy for Americans to get their hands on drugs today, promoting property rights would make it more difficult to obtain and use illicit drugs, because you would require every property owner’s consent to travel through their property with it.
Market forces would only further solidify this. Business establishments and property owners, in a free market economy, are regulated by supply and demand, and economic incentives. As it already stands, most places of employment require you to pass a drug test when you apply for a job, since they have an incentive to hire productive workers. Furthermore, business establishments would have the incentive to prohibit the use of drugs on their premises to sustain the happiness of the rest of their customers and ensure maximum profits. Just as many establishments now prohibit smoking, they would have the incentive to prohibit the use of marijuana and other drugs on their property too.
No number of government programs will succeed in eliminating the use of drugs, but social pressure from institutions such as DARE would serve as a tool to discourage the use of drugs, just as they were successful in making it “uncool” to smoke cigarettes. The threat of economic sanction from business affiliates, customers, and employers would further disincentivize the use of drugs, and promote a healthy and productive society.
The free market has the ability to do to drugs what it did to cigarettes, especially in a generation where we are able to reach the masses by the click of a button. And businesses will always have the economic incentive to hire the most efficient workers possible, and keep their customers happy. These two facts coupled together can create a market force against drugs that has never before been seen.
Conservatives would be wise to adopt libertarian ideals and promote property rights if they want to discourage and diminish the use of drugs in society. And libertarians would be wise to both change their rhetoric about prohibition, and consider discouraging drug use. Unproductive behaviors are more likely to erode property norms and lead us towards a Marxist society, since they increase time preferences, hence why certain behaviors are labeled as “cultural marxism.” If we want to bring about a libertarian society, it is incumbent upon us to promote productive behaviors that will maximize our chances at achieving libertarianism.