"The proper role of government is exactly what John Stuart Mill said in the middle of the 19th century in On Liberty. The proper role of government is to prevent other people from harming an individual. Government, he said, never has any right to interfere with an individual for that individual's own good. The case for prohibiting drugs is exactly as strong and as weak as the case for prohibiting people from overeating. We all know that overeating causes more deaths than drugs do. If it's in principle OK for the government to say you must not consume drugs because they'll do you harm, why isn't it all right to say you must not eat too much because you'll do harm? Why isn't it all right to say you must not try to go in for skydiving because you're likely to die? Why isn't it all right to say, "Oh, skiing, that's no good, that's a very dangerous sport, you'll hurt yourself"? Where do you draw the line?"
Milton Friedman
(1912-2006) Nobel Prize-winning economist, economic advisor to President Ronald Reagan, "ultimate guru of the free-market system"
America's Drug Forum interview (1991)"America's Drug Forum" (1991)
Bookmark and Share  
Reader comments about this quote:
In a de jure Representative Republic of individual sovereigns the line is, if I personally don't have the authority, lawful power or right to force my next door neighbor to do something (or he me), my representative (government) doesn't have that authority, lawful power or right either.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Where do you draw the line? Great question...and our Government does its very best every day to blur the line so that no one can see exactly what it's doing... Go back to sleep America, your Government has everything under control.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    Indeed. The Drug War is a perfect example of federal power abuse. It is only a 'war' because the government says so -- and government is authorized to fight 'wars' not dictating personal behavior. The REAL purpose of prohibition is growth of the police state AND immense profits from the black market. Why are the US military in Afghanistan? To protect the 'illegal' heroin market which represents billions in black money. Corruption abounds in government around the world -- drugs are illegal because it is most profitable all around. But at what cost to liberty, responsibility, self-respect, honor, integrity?
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Rate this quote!
    How many stars?

    What do YOU think?
    Your name:
    Your town:

    More Quotations
    Get a Quote-A-Day! Free!
    Liberty Quotes sent to your mail box.
    RSS Subscribe
    Quotes & Quotations - Send This Quote to a Friend

    © 1998-2023 Liberty-Tree.ca