There are two things which jump out at you upon reading the National Review Online editorial (yes, editorial, not an opinion piece by a renegade staffer) praising the State of Colorado for legalizing the sale, possession and use of marijuana. First, the arguments sound eerily like the ones Eric Holder uses when he advocates for mass decriminalization or at least minimum sentencing for non-violent ccocaine-related activities (yes, drug dealers are for the most part non-violent, so they get a pass, presumably all the way up to the cartel level.)
The second thing is that down in the body of the piece, the editors amazingly start listing all of the things that can and will go wrong, the attendant consequences of legalization. Yes, they say, this that and the other can result, but overall, it’s worth it to decriminalize pot both from a compassion standpoint and from the financial standpoint of the enforcement costs, et cetera.
So what is it with the populist libertarianism rearing it’s ugly head in our ranks these days? Or more to the point, why do the guys on our side insist on making the Statists’ or the anarchists’ arguments for them? It is maddeningly frustrating to recall the times over the last few decades when our side has accepted the liberal premise that there is a need, or a problem, or a social justice issue that cries out for solution. We fell behind the Chinese or somebody in Math so federalization of education was necessary. People fell down and broke their legs and couldn’t buy insurance after the fact, and somehow that was a social ill that government had to address. Cuts to the rate of growth of spending programs somehow became actual cuts to programs, just like the Lefties said they were, probably because they said it loudly and over and over again. Where did the adults go?
So here we are today, being regaled by the editors of National Review with the argument that we don’t want to saddle lawbreakers with the burden of being labelled lawbreakers. To ruin the future of our children, because of misdemeanor or felonious convictions, without which they would undoubtedly rise to the pinnacles of success in whatever they chose to do in life (unless of course they chose to spend a great deal of it buying and smoking cbd öl or dope). And of course we don’t want to be mean-spirited and ruin their self esteem…. as they dribble M&M’s and Cheetohs down their chins and giggle hysterically while making the ‘Peace’ sign. So let’s just make it legal.
To that we say, ” Appeasers, meet Pandora’s box.” In addition to making Eric Holder’s case for him that it’s too costly in a financial sense and too costly to the self-esteem of drug users and purveyors to continue with the archaic laws we have on the books, there is the issue of stigmatizing people who don’t walk around stoned a good deal of their lives but might inadvertently, or even advertently, jaywalk, with no harm to themselves or others. Let’s legalize jaywalking!
When you are careening across the prairie in your Corvette, with no other traffic on the horizon, and you roll through the stop sign at the intersection of Rt.s 32 and 66, should a drone appear from above and blast you to kingdom come? No, but that doesn’t mean that there should be no penalty for running stop signs or that stop signs should be eliminated.
You see, the police and the prosecutors, indeed even judges, have a pretty fair amount of discretion in most jurisdictions. And not only that, besides the issue of actual harm, there is the issue of decency in civil society. Conservatives, true conservatives, have never been about invading the privacy of what goes on behind closed doors, or in one’s castle, as long as the innocent are protected. But the cat was barely out of the bag in the State of Colorado when the hedonists/ peddlers/revelers demanded to hold orgies of Stonedom in the public parks and on the public streets. Almost immediately local officials had to scramble to reconcile the new laws with maintaining public order and to cope with the ancilliary effects of the newfound freedom to dope. So there’s that.
Perhaps the most comically ironic thing about this whole affair is the juxtaposition of this rush to give the seal of approval to inhaling the smoke from a weed with the reality of having gone through the last two decades absolutely demonizing the smoking of legally cultivated and distributed tobacco products. With that in mind, and mindful of the persecution of smokers in local ordinances and by taxation at all levels of government, not to mention severe financial penalties by health insurance companies and other crony capitalist enterprises imposed on tobacco users, here is an anecdote:
Not quite full disclosure: The first substance I ever smoked in my life was marijuana. I had previously avoided cigarette smoking. For some ….strange …reason, I felt the need to take up the habit of cigarette smoking in between the pot parties of my early adulthood. Thus began an addiction that lasted for 35 years. So we have these days arguments back and forth whether the use of marijuana leads to the use of harder drugs. Question? Is tobacco (nicotine) a “hard” drug? And do you know that at the same time the push is on to allow the sweet smell of Maryjane to waft through the neighborhood, there is talk of banning E-cigarettes because the act of using them is visually like the act of smoking real tobacco, which is not a good model for children?
All right, then. Booze, drugs, pornography, moderation, addiction, personal freedom, nannystatism, enumerated powers, reserved powers, local standards….the whole nine yards. The debate rages on. The personal disclosure above is certainly not the worst thing I ever did in my life. Not even close. But
it was, and is, illegal, still in most states. Not for long, though, because 2014 and stuff.
There are tons of laws on the books in jurisdictions across the land about things like spitting on the sidewalk, jaywalking, cursing in public. All probably archaic anachronisms many would like to see done away with, no harm-no foul sorts of things. But the point is, there are reasons for things, even petty things, like public ordinances, civil codes, codes of conduct, public intoxication and panhandling laws, littering, loitering, indecency… too many to enumerate here.
The $64 question is, why are NRO and other purportedly conservative outlets expending their precious editorial ammunition promoting the pet causes of those who seek to degrade civil society by licensing any and all behaviors. And yes, in my dotage I turned out to be something of a party-pooping curmudgeon, didn’t I? Apparently. But forgive me, I have been and done and seen and no, marijuana wasn’t my great sin, and neither were other things. Failing to take care of business was my big failure. But a lot of little no-harm, no-foul things along the way greased the skids.
There are great, huge threats to civil liberty (perhaps even life and limb) existent in the American polity these days that far outweigh the need to mollify social lubricant/narcotics afficionados. For instance, even the Lefties admit that Obama’s Death Panels are real. The ones who ghostwrote the laws are coming forth to cackle about it. And the small matter of the President himself saying he intends to use hook or crook to bypass the lawmaking body of the United States in order to implement his ideological whims, open borders chief among them.
Obama and Holder (see above) are scheming as we speak to release tens of thousands of convicts, and most urgently those convicts Holder refers to as “my people” because they have been”disproportionately” incarcerated. And of course most of them just took detours on their way to choir practice. You truly do belong among “your people”, Holder.
The Middle East is turning into a burning cauldron of sectarian killing and atrocity, more likely than not to result in nuclear weapons, along with their chemical and biological counterparts already unleashed, being seen as necessary in the pursuit of the Caliphate, or in the stopping of it.
In the United States, HHS, NIH and CDC are becoming increasingly incompetent to stem epidemics, as they squander their resources on research , reportage and rcommendations in regard to non-disease items like “gun violence” and “Body Mass Index.”
In short, the United States, and indeed a huge chunk of the world out there, is going to hell in a handbasket and we have a bunch of nice guys on our side of the spectrum wanting to play footsie with the ‘anything goes’ crowd in order to……what? Win the next election? Appeal to the 47%? Be able to jet out to the Rocky Mountains and get high? What is the point?
More disclosure: I got a ticket last year for driving down a straight 1.5 mile stretch of highway between local towns here in my pickup truck with my seatbelt out of place. Doing 40 miles an hour with eyes on the road, both hands on the wheel and stone cold substance – free. No violence or impairment involved, not a danger to the public. Funny thing about it was the cop did a cut-across- traffic maneuver reminiscent of Steve McQueen in Bullitt to get on my tail and chase me down, from 40mph to 30 mph to 20 mph to a full stop at the next available off-road spot.
Irritating to a freedom-loving nonviolent offender like me, curmudgeon that I am. Waste of public resources. No threat to the public at large. But I don’t expect NRO to come out and plead for the repeal of seatbelt laws. And I’m not going to either. I continue to not wear my seat belt and the police only enforce it when there’s an “awareness” campaign going on. They have more important things to be concerned about. Huge influx of heroin in these parts lately. Lots of thievery, burglary and other illicit behaviors. People don’t know how to act. If you told them they shouldn’t spit on the sidewalk, they’d laugh at you.