Don Brash has been criticised for his musings on marijuana and the right to self defence, but they are consistent with libertarianism, which values personal liberty and the protection of property.
Brash's observations on drug use might have been better received if he did not lead such a dysfunctional party that has for years pursued the vote of the authoritarian right and allowed the likes of the Sensible Sentencing Trust to hijack its law and order policies.
And some people will never accept that any idea Brash has could be a good one because, well, he's Don Brash. The Evil One.
The proposal to decriminalise marijuana use is a sensible one, but already politicians from most of the major parties are lining up to shoot it down. They continue to argue that pot should be banned because it causes harm, even though far more toxic substances continue to be sold over the counter and contribute substantially to Crown revenues.
The call to give people a greater right to self-defence is less sensible, and looks more like another bone being thrown to law and order types: people who will be appalled at the thought of long-haired potheads not having the shit kicked out of them by police. It is entirely unclear how exactly Brash wants the law to be changed. He has quoted in the media the case of a shopkeeper charged with injuring with intent, after the man used a hockey stick to defend himself against an armed mob of youths. But those charges were thrown out. How is that evidence that the law is not working?
A right to self defence or defence of another already exists, provided reasonable force is used. But the Crimes Act does not give anyone the right to use reasonable force in defence of property, if it will involve striking or doing bodily harm to the attacker or intruder. Perhaps this is the area of law Brash is interested in. The trouble with allowing people to attack those who are either harming or pinching your stuff is that things can get out of hand. Would Bruce Emery, the man who stabbed to death a teenage boy for tagging his fence, have gone to jail if such a "defence of property" statutory defence had existed? How would we feel about that as a society?
Human life is more valuable than mere stuff, and possessions can always be replaced. But if we want to live in a more brutal and violent society, allowing people to wound or kill others who offer no threat of violence would be a good place to start.