Monday, August 17, 2009

Athletes and Steroids:

As a libertarian, of course I believe all drugs should be legalized, including steroids/human growth hormone. And I believe private organizations should be free to set rules like "we will or will NOT let our athletes take these drugs." I think if folks could take these drugs legally and with doctors' recommendations, it would be better and safer. Yes, I realize you can get a prescription for steroids. But I'm referring to a system where you don't need a PRESCRIPTION; rather folks would consult their doctors and pharmacists for RECOMMENDATIONS on how to use them safely. That is, a healthy 30 year old, after deciding to use steroids, CONSULTS with doctors and pharmacists for the safest and most responsible way to use them. And perhaps later sue the manufacturers for "failure to warn" if unanticipated health problems occur.

That said, it seems to me, that outside of the sick world where only patients whose muscles might otherwise waste get legal steroids, the folks who end up taking and abusing the drugs illegally are the ones least likely to need them. I know, who am I, as a libertarian, to say who needs what. The logic I am using is, a guy who is 5 foot 2 needs a drug to grow another half foot. A guy who is 6 foot even needs that drug less. And a guy who is six foot six needs that drug not at all. But I suppose if one wants to complete at professional basketball, that 6'6" guy could benefit from the drug.

Imagine, if you will, a drug that could raise your IQ level 20 points. You might ask, who is in most need of that drug? It's folks with IQ levels at the average and below average levels. Folks who have an IQ of 130 -- very high but not astronomically high -- don't really need to boost their IQs to 150. But again, if I wanted to move up the ranks from a modest level attorney, community college professor to stellar Supreme Court litigator/ivy league law professor, I might benefit from such a drug.

That, it seems to me, is exactly what goes on when bodybuilders, wrestlers and ultimate fighters take steroids. What brought this to mind was Kurt Angle's recent arrest for human growth hormone.

He claimed to have had a valid prescription for them. Right. Like he needs them for health reasons.

I could hit the gym 5 times a week and take steroids and probably wouldn't be as strong as Angle if he never worked out a day in his life and didn't take steroids. Nature both endows and limits.

I'd like to see more natural beanpoles taking steroids, of course in a safe and responsible way. But as long as they are illegal it's less likely for that to occur.

Ultimately, I say just legalize the drugs for all consenting adults and let the individual make an informed choice on whether and how much to take. That's much better than the system of government regulations, doctors' prescriptions, and black markets.


J said...

Funny, Mr Rowe, for a "libertarian", you certainly seem fond of defending non-libertarians (religious fundamentalists, mormons, psychotic bay area gay-republicans, etc)

Moderation itself not exactly libertarian. Then, most American libertarians believe libertarianism to be about equivalent to the code of machiavelli.

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Anonymous said...

To "J," libertarianism is partially about realizing that just because you wouldn't do something doesn't mean you should tell everyone else not to if that's what they choose. Therefore, just because you aren't a religious fundamentalist doesn't mean you should try to attack the rights of religious fundamentalists. You not only don't know what you're talking about, but I would also hate to live in the state you would call ideal.