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Libertarians don’t support Miller Lite and oxycodone in vending machines

Libertarians don’t support Miller Lite and oxycodone in vending machines
Farmer's Fridge, a healthy vending machine service company from Chicago opened the first of three planned machines at the Northwestern Memorial Hospital complex in Streeterville in 2015 (Phil Velasquez/ Chicago Tribune) (Phil Velasquez / Chicago Tribune)

Your July 22 editorial (“So remind us, Howard County, why was providing access to healthy food in vending machines ever controversial?" July 17) presented what you think is a reasoned argument for the Howard County government to mandate the contents of vending machines. I can understand that there might be a rationale to do so for vending machines in schools and in government offices, if that is what the employees want.

Unfortunately, your editorial contained a paragraph that you believed contained a “counter argument” that you thought “committed libertarians” might make. Your statements conspicuously showed that you have no real understanding of libertarian principles and did not take the time to talk to any informed libertarian.

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Within the libertarian movement (and the Libertarian Party) you will find a range of positions on many issues (as happens in the major parties), but I would be extremely surprised if you could find any serious libertarian who would advocate public vending machines (available to minors) to be stocked with “oxycodone, packs of Camels and cans of Miller Lite.”

We libertarians do believe in free markets, but usually also recognize that minors cannot make all decisions for themselves. They often need direction from parents. Libertarians are not libertines. Do due diligence before you intentionally insult a principled political group in such an outlandish manner. I am a knowledgeable (and insulted) libertarian and used to be a registered Libertarian until the state of Maryland in its wisdom de-certified the party.

David Griggs, Columbia

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