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Reasoners on Russia Today: Matt Welch Talks Prop. 19 on The Alyona Show


In which I explain how disagreeing with the Chamber of Commerce does not create a disturbance in the force of libertarianism.

NEXT: School Property

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  1. She touches on this at the end, but in this respect, isn’t Prop 19 actually restricting freedom? Shouldn’t businesses be allowed to use whatever criteria they choose in deciding whom to employ?

    I’m all for legalizing/decriminalizing the mary jane, but I’m not sure in a way that is at the expense of other’s liberties.

    1. Sure. Every employee, or potential employee, has the right to enter a private, voluntary contract with an employer, which can include restrictions on non-work activities. The question should be, is it voluntary, or is it coerced?

      The second issue, is that of privacy. Does an employer have the right to violate doctor/patient confidentiality, and other privacy issues? Illegal drugs are not the only ones that can show up in drug test. If an employer says he is testing for illegal drugs, but also gets knowledge of legal drugs, unbeknownst to the potential employee, is that not misrepresentation?

      1. If the employment contract into which both parties freely enter states clearly the recreational drug use policy of the employer, would enforcement of that contract constitute coercion? The second issue you describe seems to be fraud.

        I know it sucks, but some people have a problem with recreational drug use. Those people shouldn’t be allowed to use the club of government to keep others from using whatever drugs they choose in their free time. But drug users also shouldn’t be allowed to use the club of government to force people to hire workers without gathering all the facts they could applicants to agree to provide.

        1. The employee always retains the choice to seek employment elsewhere. I agree. Employers should not be forced to hire people that they do not want for whatever reasons, nor should workers be forced to perform jobs they do not want for whatever reasons. It’s a two-way street.

    2. It’s not as easy as that. Even from a libertarian perspective there can be lines drawn what kind of clauses can be part of an enforceable contract (me showing up late for work should not result in me being punishable with 100 whippings for example).

      1. Assault is has been designated a criminal activity. While I agree that we can do the same to pissing in a cup (make it criminal and therefore not enforceable), the question is should we? Does it exist on or near the same plane as assault?

        Also, whining about a little punitive lashing isn’t very German of you.

        1. I knew I should have provided another example, this is H&R after all.

      2. What if you’re into S&M? Would it be cruel to withhold 100 future whippings just for being late to work?

    3. This is a very good point. I won’t bother with the analogies of employers who decide, for their own reasons, to not hire black people, or brown people, etc. It is a settled matter of US law that precludes those actions. I will simply say that society imposes some rules to preclude arbitrary and capricious actions on others that cause real harm on society. Imposing a law that protects citizens from being arbitrarily discriminated against for behavior that has no effect on their actual job performance seems a reasonable compromise to me.

      Under current law, citizens are discriminated against by the “drug free workplace laws” for no good reason other than to enforce the war on drugs, which is silly and destructive.

      1. Prop 19 foes can and do say that the State’s prohibition of drug use is settled law and that to remove it would cause real harm on society.

        While government should not be dictating that employers must discriminate against drug users, government also should not be interfering with the person who wants to enforce any anti-use agreement with his workers.

    4. This is true, but it’s a compromise of the kind that’s sometimes necessary to get support for a reform. I think it’d be a small step backward for such a big step forward.

      1. This is true-

        I choose to read no further, sir.

        Just kidding. I agree that it’s a compromise and, stepping out of the anti-statist ideal and into the real world, probably a good one to make.

  2. I’ll say it again:

    I’d like to be on Alyona. No, not the show.

    1. I’d like to be in Alyona.

      1. I’d like to be under Alyona.

        C’mon, we all know she’s a ‘woman on top’.

    2. Yeah, we would all like to inject a little capitalism into sweet little Alyona.

  3. Hi Matt,

    It seems you took my advice of not wearing a tie if you wanted to keep the top of your shirt unbuttoned. You look hotter and sexier.

  4. “Yeah but if your neighbors see you in line”

    What? your neighbors will see you in line to vote….

    does Alyona understand how democracy works? does she understand that there is a whole election going on not just prop 19? Does she understand that everyone who is voting weather it is yes or no to prop 19 stands in the same line?

    I always thought she was some Midwestern girl hired by RT…now i am thinking she actually is a Russian (who is really good at learning foreign language) and simply does not know how democracy works.

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