So the interns at Cato and IHS battled it out in their annual debate a few days ago. It was a great discussion.
In my mind a major point of victory for team liberty over team virtue was that libertarians continuously insisted upon justifying the state’s use of violence and force when using legislating against behaviors. In other words, libertarians recognize the essential differences between the criminal law and civil processes; whereas the conservatives in the debate treated state made legal processes as a homogenous black box.
I’m tempted to challenge more forcefully the belief that drug use or even murder crimes have harmful effects upon some methodologically dubious definitions of “society.” Through most of human history these actions were effectively detered by civil rather than criminal legal mechanisms.
Prohibition, incarceration and militarization harm society far more explicitly and to greater magnitude.