In Defense Of Jacko’s Doctor

Ilana Mercer, November 11, 2011

What a difference a few years can make. In July of 2005, cable TV’s crusaders wanted that frail stick figure, Michael Jackson, locked away forever. Jackson was a danger to “our” children, they insisted. Had not his accuser said so? The “kid” in question was a five-foot-seven, hirsute, habitual liar and shoplifter, who was following in the tradition of a family of transients and tramps.

Today, the same characters on the networks are having a whale of a time at the prospect of jail time for Dr. Conrad Murray. Murray was convicted of the involuntary manslaughter of Mr. Jackson. The pop sensation died of a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol. It had been administered in the singer’s bedroom on June 25, 2009.

Dr. Murray, who had been out on bail, was promptly declared a dangerous offender by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor. “This is a crime where the end result was the death of a human being. That factor demands rather dramatically that the public should be protected,” said Pastor.

What a difference a day makes. Before the verdict, Murray was out and about among the public, during which time he did not put anyone under.

Jackson, whom I defended when the prosecutor known as ‘Mad Dog’ (Thomas) Sneddon picked up the star’s scent and gave chase, charging him with child sexual abuse—was a deeply disturbed, body dysmorphic, drug-addicted man. Nevertheless, he was an adult, not a child. His decisions were his to make. And Michael Jackson had hired Murray to feed narcotics directly into his bloodstream. Taking his “milk” is how the warped Mr. Jackson called this necrophilic practice.

Murray agreed to become Jackson’s personal physician for $150,000 a month but was never paid because the singer died prior to signing the contract. Dr. Conrad Murray is an odious character, but he is innocent in libertarian law. He would not be my choice for a medic, but he does not belong behind bars.

From dwarf tossing to drug taking: The legislator has no place in voluntary exchanges between consenting adults, as dodgy and as dangerous as these might be. A drug purchaser and a drug pusher have agreed on an exchange. If it is voluntary and consensual, then both parties expect to benefit ex ante. A voluntary exchange is, by definition, always mutually beneficial inasmuch as, at the time of the exchange, the buyer valued the purchase more than the money he paid for it, and the seller valued the money more than the goods he sold.

There will always be meddling third parties who’ll seek to circumscribe and circumvent a voluntary activity not to their liking. Some feminists want to stop pornographers from making or consuming the stuff. Other busybodies would like to coerce adults to quit gambling. These third parties have no place in transactions between consenting adults, unless these trades infringe directly—not foreseeably—on their property or person.Ultimately any transaction that was at the time of occurrence voluntary, and hence beneficial to the participants, can, retrospectively, be denounced as harmful and regrettable.

Michael Jackson was looking to hire someone to put him under every night. Far and few are the competent, aboveboard medical practitioners who would agree to provide the type of “service” Jackson sought from Murray; the sample of highly skilled and ethical professionals willing to provide such a dodgy service is bound to be small. By definition, Jackson was looking for a risk-taker, and worse.

With a steady stream of “milk of amnesia,” Mr. Jackson should have expected an unsteady practitioner.

Were drug dealing legal, Jackson might have had access to a better class of celebrity drug pusher. However, even Mr. Jackson had to know that a medic who was prepared to anesthetize a man to sleep each and every night was not the cream of the medical crop. Poor Michael Jackson lacked the smarts to sign a contract stipulating Murray’s medical responsibilities. Had Jackson done that prudent thing, however, Murray would have likely still flouted his ethical obligations, irrespective of the Hippocratic Oath he took.

Still and all, if not for the medicine of this and the other sloppy doctors in Jackson’s employ, the singer would have ended-up dead ages ago, in a back alley, a needle stuck in his arm. In his ethereal appearance and odd appetites, Michael Jackson had always seemed closer to death even when alive.

November 11

CATEGORIES: Celebrity, Drug War, Ethics, Individual rights, Law, Libertarianism, Popular Culture, Regulation

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