Rebuttal To ‘Street Legal’ 

Elizabeth Hobson (Libertarianism) 


 Paddy Shannon (Anarcho-Socialism)


From a capitalist point of view, this writer takes issue with Mr. Shannon’s characterization of the most successful economic system in history and with his final claim, that under a socialist system, “nobody will have the right or the authority to [ban drugs]”. 

The right to own property and be the primary benefactor of one’s own labour is the hallmark of a capitalist society and has led to the freest and most prosperous countries the world has known (plus facilitated hitherto unknown levels of social mobility). “The rich elite” are not a static bloc of privileged, entitled, and prejudicial monsters. 88% of millionaires are self-made (Fidelity, 2017) and the number of self-made super-rich in the top 400 of America’s wealthiest people vastly outweighs those who have inherited their wealth (Dolan, 2018). The richest individuals are politically diverse, and are actually, in the U.S., left leaning where  “Democrats seem to come out ahead of Republicans in raising money from the richest precincts of the nation” (Barone, 2017). Corporate lobbying of governments is a problem - but not one inherent to capitalism. That corruption stems from the willingness of our politicians to be bought, it’s their activities that need to be scrutinised and limited primarily. 

My Marxist counterpart claims that his system of socialist global governance will be run democratically with common ownership, but that’s sheeps clothing on a tyrannical and thieving dictatorship at best and mob rule subsuming the inalienable rights of individuals at worst. A paternalistic authoritarian state I expect where marijuana would be illegal, just like it is in Venezuela, Cuba, and China currently. And why not? In its best light socialism is about the collective enterprise, not about individual rights. And, let us be honest, the tried-and-tested inefficiencies of central planning would lead to inevitable shortages of basic necessities. The obvious response would be the redirection of land and labour to try to increase production and crack down on the spirit of individualism and dissidence that can arise in social subcultures (like those wherein narcotics are consumed). 

Mr. Shannon is right that drug prohibition is “a mistake that’s cost the lives of countless tens of thousands.” - but “every socialistic type of government… produces bad art, produces social inertia, produces really unhappy people, and it's more repressive than any other kind of government” (Zappa, 1980). It cannot provide the correction.

Barone M., (2017), ‘Which Party Is the Party of the 1 Percent?’, accessed online at

Dolan K.A., (2018), ‘Forbes 400 2018: A New Number One And A Record-Breaking Year For America's Richest People’, accessed online at

Fidelity (2017), ‘The Tipping Point:Will the Coming Wave of Wealth Value Advice?’, accessed online at

Zappa F., (1980) ‘My Afternoon with Frank Zappa’ by Larry Rogak, accessed online at

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