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"Liberty" does not equate to the right to have the government provide a course of study in any subject you desire. Of course, it does mean that you can pay to study whatever you want, provided there's someone willing to sell instruction in it.
"...we should...provide a basic income to everyone who wants one..." What you are saying here is that I should go to work such that part of my work day should go towards someone who does not go to work, because unless you have people who go to work and then forcibly take some of the money those people earn from them, there will be no money to give away for free. In case you aren't aware (and it seems you aren't), there is no such thing as "government money", except by way of expropriating money from people who work. In short, the solution to "provide a basic income" is to get a fucking job.
"...hold challenges to stimulate innovation..." These challenges are already held: you win a prize if you come up with useful innovation, and the value of the prize is determined by how useful people find your innovation. Contests are held all day, every day, and you can participate at your will or whim. These contests are lumped together under the banner of the "free market", and you can find examples of past winners in the iStuff you have and the flat screen TV you own and the refrigerator you use and many more things in your world.
Let's say for the sake of argument (and because I don't know the real figure) there are 10,000 people who travel between LA and SF each day. For that same tenth of a trillion, you could fly each of these people return, every day of the year, for almost 274 years.
Like all things managed by government, the economics come from bizarro land. It's like reading articles that a government is "investing" $300,000,000 in order to fulfil "short term housing needs" by providing 1,500 "permanent beds" for homeless people - make you wonder why they don't just give these 1,500 people $200,000 each (except that $290,000,000 ends up spent on the bureaucracy to "support" the exercise).
You're right: meth is very insidious - I too have a friend who is a "husk" - he went completely nuts on it, coke and ecstacy and ended up in the mental ward of the hospital and he never came back to normal. I visited him every day for the first 30 days he was in there and your description of "husk" is spot on: the guy I knew just didn't live there anymore.
However, there are lots and lots of things which are not particularly good for humans. My point is pragmatic, not Darwinian: prohibition has worse consequences and outcomes than non-prohibition. Are there still horrible outcomes? Yup. But fewer. And adults ought to be free to do what they want, including things which are demonstrably sub-optimal.
- that the price of oil will not increase as it becomes more scarce (if oil prices were increased to $1000/barrel today, would you still say there are 40 years left?), which in turn would impact consumption, increase the economic viability of alternatives and spur investment in innovation to develop so far unknown alternatives; and
- that the quantity of all the oil in existence in known (hint: it's not - exploration and finds continue)
among other things...
Of course, it serves as a serviceable excuse for arbitrary police check points and routine 4th amendment violations, so at least there's something coming out of it...
Compare this to alcohol: some subset of the population becomes addicted to it (incidentally, a rather substantial subset, compared to the illicit drug subset), but it is legal, there is quality control, the price is reasonable and there are very few people who commit crimes to obtain it (altho an enormous percentage of prison inmates were under the influence of it when their crimes were committed, again, a far, far larger subset than those who were under the influence of other, prohibited drugs when they committed their crimes).
Alcohol prohibition in the US should have taught law makers the results of prohibiting substances - hell, there remain, many generations later, crime families who got their start because of prohibition (no, I'm not talking about the Kennedys). But as others have pointed out, there are an awful lot of people who profit legally from its prohibition, like the DEA and the ATF and the FBI and the rest of the state apparatus, which never, ever gets smaller or goes away.
An ordinary person would look at a few decades of the "war on drugs", examine the costs (both financial and to liberties) and then examine the results: did the problem go away? Was it reduced? Or did it get worse, and more violent? Does having the largest prison population on the planet, about 2 million of whom are imprisoned for rather trivial drug offenses, make the country safer, or do they learn to become criminals while in prison? What's harder for a school-aged kid to get: heroin or alcohol? Anyone who sees those results and thinks it's money and effort and freedom well spent should get their head examined - prohibition is hurting an awful lot of people for no discernible upside.
Virtually every single problem associated with drugs like heroin is a function of its illegal status.
Fuck. Now I have a craving for a cupcake...anyone have a groupon handy?
As some others have pointed out, the US Constitution is not a place to enumerate people's rights - people have rights regardless of the Constitution. The Constitution exists to limit the government's rights. As soon as you start enumerating people's rights in that fine document, you've turned it on its head (and will open a line of attack on other, unenumerated, rights). Really, the onus should be on the government to prove it is acting within the limited confines of the Constitution, rather than the people having to prove it is not (with mixed results).
It is astonishing to me that a great many people think they only have rights because the government has deigned to give them those rights. That is not the case.