Presidential hopefuls in the Republican Party gathered together to debate the issues in South Carolina. Ron Paul drew the most attention for his provocative understanding of FREEDOM. His Libertarian view is the menu of choice should be expanded to include items like prostitution, cocaine, and heroin. The only limitation to freedom should be choices which directly (i.e. physically) harm others.
Michael Gerson correctly notes that Paul would be undeterred by data which shows areas which have decriminalized drugs has increased drug addiction rates. This is because of Paul’s modern, or libertarian, understanding of VIRTUE and VICE:
Quote 1: “How many people here would use heroin if it were legal? I bet nobody would.”
Quote 2: (He is making fun of an addict here) “Oh yeah, I need the government to take care of me. I don’t want to use heroin, so I need these laws.”
For Paul, in order for a person to be truly virtuous, he must do so to a heroic degree. If the Law “helps” him by eliminating temptations, then that doesn’t count as virtue. A virtuous person is one who lives in a dump but doesn't get dirty.
Gerson points out that this is a repeat of Herbert Spencer’s SOCIAL DARWINISM. Citizens compete, not cooperate, against one another in a game of 'Survival of the Fittest.' The Addict's inability to resist temptation does not garner the community's concern. It is simply every man for himself. A Public Philosophy of this kind would cultivate contempt, not compassion, towards the the weak in a society. A community of free individuals ultimately means the individuals are free from each other, which isn't much of a community at all.