Libertarian meat eater, right wing in the sense of conservative with a small c.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

What works?

The only thing that all parts of the political spectrum can agree on is that they want to make life better for people, (although I'm sure the socialists believe that all the others are determined to make life miserable for the downtrodden), so lets take a look at a few policies from a pragmatic angle:

Drugs:

Current position: WAR ON NOUNS!!!
Does it work? No, not just a bit no but unbloodybelievably no. People keep taking them anyway despite having to break the law to do so. This leads some straight to prison and others committing crime to get their expensive hit. There is also a great focus on punishment and not all that much on helping those addicted break or manage their habit.
Any better ideas? Legalise the lot, licence, tax and use some proportion of that money, (and the money saved from not locking up drug takers), to fund treatment programmes.

Europe:

Current position: The EU, soon to be totally beyond our control thanks to the self amending Lisbon Treaty.
Does it work? While having free trade within it's borders, is in effect a protectionist block when it comes to world trade. There is rampant corruption, the usual problems with upscaling and trying to control diverse situations with one central rule combined with a total lack of accountability.
So it doesn't really work as intended and is drifting ever closer to a badly run United States of Europe.
Any better ideas? Whether you support the idea of a pan-European government or not, this one's broken. There have been many attempts to fix it but none of them have worked at all. Given that, it's time to break it up and either start again or just devolve things back to sovereign states.


Education:

Current position: "Comprehensive" Education with some private schooling available for a, (high), price.
Does it work? The private sector does pretty well, the state system, (with a few honorable exceptions), has not worked for a very long time. The comps are a victim of central planning that takes no account of local variations, devalues the exam system, adds progressively more stupid things to the dumbed down national curriculum and has too little discipline in many areas. (That's a no by the way).
Any better ideas? The Swedish voucher system seems to work fairly well, that doesn't mean it would be perfect for the UK but it does appear to be a vast improvement.

Abortion:

Current position: Elective, (after jumping through a hoop or two), up to 24 weeks with the vast majority done before 20 weeks. Late term abortions available in cases where the foetus would develop with severe abnormalities or to protect the health of the prospective mother.
Does it work? Fairly well, there is still an ongoing debate as to whether the elective limit should be brought down to 20 weeks but the arguments to support such a move are far from clear cut. Further restrictions would be more likely to cause overall harm than help.
Any better ideas? Not so far as I can tell.

Prostitution:

Current position: Prostitution is not illegal but soliciting for it is, (you are free to sell your body as long as you don't go telling people your body is for sale), paying for sex, (with an over 18), is legal.
Does it work? The aim of the law is to reduce the amount of prostitution, to keep it away from those who object to it, to prevent anyone other than the prostitute making money from the prostitute's work and to prevent anyone being controlled / forced / coerced into prostitution.
Given that prostitution is famously the "oldest profession" the only way in which you can reduce prostitution is to improve the economic circumstances of those who would otherwise go into the industry. The sole way in which the law is reasonably effective is that it provides the police a means to arrest or move on prostitutes who are in an area where too many residents are objecting. There are dire health consequences, exacerbated by this trade being illegal, and a conviction for soliciting will make it harder for a prostitute to leave the trade and find better work. All in all, the law makes conditions worse for sex workers, makes leaving the industry very difficult and leaves them open to abuse, (there is no hope of extracting you fee from a non paying client through the courts, giving pimps an in to provide "protection").
Any better ideas? Liberalising and bringing some degree of legitimacy to the sex trade is the only way I can see to improve conditions for sex workers. Licensed, health checked etc. brothels would be a safer environment for both workers and clients. If the trade were not illegal and therefore a conviction less likely, the trade would also be easier to leave.

Let the sad, small roman candle begin. I'll be back with more of these as and when.

5 comments:

John B said...

On abortion, improving access to early abortions (dropping the 'two doctors' rule, making it compulsory for a GP who's opposed to recommending abortion on principle to put you in touch with one who isn't, and improving funding to cut waitlists) would cut the number of late abortions. And probably save money...

Falco said...

Sounds sensible.

Anonymous said...

Sex workers are not in favor of legalization simply because that brings the government further into the bedroom than we want. Decriminalization would be nice though.

Sex workers are not the disease vector everyone thinks they are. Teens and college kids are a major one, though.

Read some CDC stats or studies done on street workers. Almost all street workers with STDs also have a drug addiction (prelude to risky behavior) or use IV-drugs (very dangerous).

XX
Amanda

Falco said...

Amanda, thank you for your reply. It a a point of faith for Libertarians that government interference should be kept to a minimum. Let sex workers organise things as they wish, perhaps with a voluntary code to help both their business and the customer, (people would pay more if they felt safer).

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