Norml Critics Are Legal Positivists

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Brad Zarin's guest column in the Sept. 26 issue of The Maroon entitled "Pot
normalization appalling trend" is an example of legal positivism at its finest.

His fundamental argument, as applied in his article particularly pertaining
to marijuana decriminalization, is that Loyola University should not
involve itself with any organization committed to undermining any legal
code, despite the legitimacy of the code.

Legal positivism is the theory claiming that all law is legitimate,
regardless of the merits on which law is based.

Many individuals, who may or may not have full faith in the government and
its abilities, consider legal codes only insofar as they prohibit
activities rather than critically analyzing the legitimacy of such laws.

The legal positivist would claim that drug trade and consumption are
illegal, because the law holds the activities to be illegal.

Because a collection of individuals, namely bureaucrats, elected by some
portion of the populace and granted the authority to manipulate and control
interactions among individuals under the pretext of the "common good," have
decided such, and they are looked to, by many, to hold the definitive word
on these issues.

However, even given this "common good" doctrine, how can anyone claim that
any voluntary interaction between any number of consenting individuals is
opposed to the "common good"?

Does not the fact that said individuals chose such alternatives yield an
overall increase in the "common good" given the fact that no one was
coerced in any way, shape, or form?

The basic explanation of human action reflected in drug trade and use
presents the crux of the matter revolving around the decriminalization issue.

All parties involved in drug trade and use satisfy a demand through that
activity, behaving in response to their own subjectively perceived benefits
derived from the activities.

Otherwise, they would not have chosen to become involved, thereby not
choosing such alternatives.

Voluntary drug trade is no different from any other voluntary interaction
between consenting individuals, and drug use is no different from any other
activity an individual partakes in so long as no other individual's rights
are violated.

~Erich Mattei economics senior

Source: Maroon, The (LA Edu)
Copyright: 2003 The Maroon.