Politicians design programs they believe will initiate force precisely and sparingly. But in reality, they’ve opened Pandora’s Box.
Key Concept: Initiated force, once unleashed, brings with it still more violence.
EXAMPLE: Politicians outlaw drug use to fight addiction. But then a cop gets shot because some addict or dealer doesn’t want to go to jail. The suddenly-awakened public cries, “do something!” The politicians have only one “something” they can do — initiate even more force…
- The politicians increase the criminal penalties for possession and militarize the police
- More doors are kicked down, and family pets are shot
- Additional activities, common to dealers and addicts, are also criminalized
Surely, now the problem of addiction will go away, right? On the contrary.
- Drug dealers become more sophisticated, use new techniques, bribe cops and judges, or increase their own violence
- The politicians respond with increased violence of their own. Their new controls impact your life in more and more ways, even though you don’t use drugs
- You find it hard to do cash transactions or buy cough syrup
Your inability to buy cough syrup traces to the naive decision to initiate force to solve a social problem.
Meanwhile, social commentators engage in their own naivete. Policies of initiated force create social division. Yet these commentators bemoan the fact that people have no respect for the cops.
This phenomenon is not limited to drug prohibition.
- Every form of prohibition is plagued with the same cycle of expanding violence. Each results in a black market, with all its nasty side effects
- Likewise, foreign policy interventions cause blowback
Nobility of intent provides zero protection from this Pandora’s Box. Initiated violence begets still more violence, not less.