Pubdate: Wed, 18 Sep 2002
Source: Halifax Herald (CN NS)
Copyright: 2002 The Halifax Herald Limited
Author: Chris Buors


Dear Editor:

Someone ought to inform letter writer M.E. Jollimore (Sept. 12) that Canada 
has a legal system. If we had a justice system, there would be no laws to 
control our drugs. Michael Patriquen and all drug dealers are political 

"Vices are not crimes," wrote American jurist Lysander Spooner in his 
classic 1875 essay. "Crime implies harm to another person or their 
property. Vices are harms we do to ourselves. In vice, the very essence of 
crime . . . is wanting." Are the drug laws moral? Well, let's put them to 
the four cardinal virtues test of St. Thomas Aquinas. Prudence, temperance, 
justice and fortitude are those virtues and drug prohibition fails on every 

Thomas Jefferson left mankind the key natural rights principle, that laws 
aren't legitimate just because a government says they are. Nor are laws 
legitimate because they are the result of a democratic process. At various 
times, it has been legal for governments to steal property, to suppress 
free speech, to censor newspapers and to murder people. The worst tyrants 
could usually point to some legal basis for their actions.

To be legitimate, laws must conform to moral principles. They must support 
each individual's equal right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

Chris Buors, Winnipeg, Man.
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