The Lesson Behind the Dana Larsen Arrest

Dana Larsen has been arrested in Calgary for giving away cannabis seeds. There are several crimes that have been committed here, but I don’t consider distributing seeds of a harmless, non-toxic plant to be one of them.

The biggest crime here is the taxpayer money spent on this arrest.

Calgary has issues with gangs, break-and-enters, murders, vehicle thefts and a high suicide rate.

Arresting someone for giving away what amounts to the “hemp hearts” sold at your local grocery store is a violation of an individual’s basic right.

That is, the precept that undermines the Western legal tradition, where human rights are inherent in our being, not something decreed by the state apparatus and passed through the legislature.

Calgary’s monopoly police force should be ashamed of themselves. It’s not enough to hide behind the mantra of “just following orders” or the “law is the law.”

It was once the law to round up Japanese citizens and put them in internment camps.

It was once the law to round up aboriginal children and indoctrinate them into residential schools.

It was once the law to round up homosexuals and stick them in cages just for displaying their sexual preferences.

The police mantra that, “we don’t make the laws, we just enforce them,” pins the blame solely on politicians instead of directing it where it also belongs.

Police prioritize the law and the Vancouver Police have shown that it is possible to focus on crimes other than cannabis prohibition.

Calgary police didn’t need to raid the Days Inn hotel Wednesday night. The owners of the hotel were obviously fine with Larsen’s rally, everything going on there was based on consensual relations.

Except the relationship with police. Across the country and for the last 150 years, Canadian police services have been monopolized by the democratic state.

Although the idea might have started with good intentions, the reality in this day and age is that the police operate on the Soviet-economic model.

Calgary taxpayers can’t cease paying for bad law enforcement.

Economic calculation in the market directs entrepreneurs to satisfy consumer demands through consensual, voluntary exchange.

Only governmental agencies and their cronies are exempt from this process.

But society doesn’t spring up with a government police force already in place.

Once people have reduced interpersonal violence enough to allow them to live together and trade and prosper, policing entities naturally arise to provide law enforcement services.

I’m willing to bet there are Brink’s vans transporting currency and other valuable assets for private customers like banks and businesses.

I bet the University of Calgary has their own private security, as do shopping malls and gated communities.

I bet there are companies that specialize in home security systems.

I bet there are lawyers in Calgary that arbitrate outside the courts because taxpayer-funded monopoly courts are incredibly slow and bureaucratic. Likewise, government-monopoly police services are increasingly showing their ineptitude at reflecting the values of their respected communities.

Dana Larsen’s arrest is the latest example.

Legitimate businesses require physical contracts to be signed for them to be legally binding.

No one expects a phone company to come knocking on your door demanding payment unless you’ve previously signed a contract with them and neglected to uphold your end of the bargain.

Some may argue that because of the special nature of police services, only a government monopoly can provide peace and order.

But does that hold up to scrutiny in the real world?

When police funds are supplied by a politically-controlled monopoly, the results are services driven by political, rather than consumer, concerns.


Note: an earlier version of this post said that Larsen was selling the cannabis seeds. This was incorrect. He was distributing them for free.