I believe, again, that the act we're punishing is the "whack" itself. I would seek reparations whether the whacker was stoned, drunk, sober or whatever, it's obviously dangerous driving.
In some senses, you may be right. On the other hand, somebody who's drunk or high out of his/her mind may not be able to make rational decisions about whether to drive or not. Fear of reparations or consequences don't have a preventative effect in that situation. And reparations can never bring somebody back to life-- even if the perpetrator is caught and has the funds to pay them.
While I believe it's reasonable in principle for society to limit certain behaviors, I think the actual implementation in this country is completely screwed up. It's legal to buy as much alcohol as you want, provided you're 21. You can then jump into a car and kill 10 people. However, it's illegal to smoke pot or coke, for not-very-well-defined reasons. Perhaps the addiction factor of certain drugs can be factored in, but the same can be said of alcohol.
Not to mention the fact that the cost of our prohibition seems to be higher than that of the behavior we're trying to prevent. And that it's failing anyway.
My point here is that you stand as much chance of re-creating the government into a non-regulating form as you do of getting it to simply regulate in a reasonable, coherent manner. Probably a much lesser chance. Some people seem to think that we can a) rebuild a government that will never try to regulate anything, b) that we can make that situation permanent, and that c) it won't be a disaster. I doubt all three.
In all these examples, you could replace "taking drugs" with "being depressed" or "being an idiot" or "having a degenerative mental condition."
We already have a legal framework for punishing legitimate violations of and threats against the rights of others, I just don't see the reason for lumping drugs into the equation.
You're right about all of the examples above. They're all legitimate reasons why somebody might be dangerous if allowed to drive. The government (or really, the people) have to decide how much certain classes of people should be regulated, and that regulation has to be balanced against those individuals' civil rights. For instance, the controversy over whether society can institutionalize dangerously insane people has been a big one. But the reason it's so questionable is not on some axiomatic "government regulation or no government regulation" principle, but purely due to civil rights issues.
Some people mistakenly believe that the government's fundamental right to regulate is at issue in these decisions, but it's not. It's a question of how the government's right competes with various rights granted to people.
How far you extend these rights, and how you interpret their meaning make a big difference in what the gov't is allowed to do. And of course, how people want their government to behave govern what it tries to regulate.
[ Parent ]