Libertarians are an odd bunch. I should know, because on many issues, I am one. But I’ve always identified two things that will keep them from full participation in the American mainstream.
One is the profound ill wisdom of isolationist foreign policy. The other is weed.
With the collapse of our national will to act as a force for good in the Middle East, libertarian energies are freed to pursue their other pet project, which accrues to our detriment: the notion that legalizing marijuana is a good thing.
Many in the pot-legalization crowd use an on-ramp intended to appeal to lovers of liberty — the notion that we should be free to do whatever we please, as long as we do not violate the rights of others.
But it is the job of any responsible lover of liberty to know that a stoned society is everybody’s business. It is the height of absurdity to suggest that the issue goes no further than some guy in his living room twisting up a doob with some Allman Brothers on his iPod.
In an age when the very value of work is under attack from various factions, the last thing we need is waves of experimentation with a drug that tells users to sit down and turn on the TV for six hours.
The first reply from the pot legalizers is that alcohol use has a downside as well. This is true, but irrelevant. As human history unfolds, there are various substances we will permit and various things we will ban, all based on case-by-case evaluation of benefits and detriments.
If they tell you pot is “safer than alcohol,” offer a choice of whom to hop in a car with: someone who’s had one beer or someone who’s smoked one joint.
Most people consuming alcohol are not looking to get drunk; everyone smoking pot is looking to get high. I know my friends and I surely were when we shamefully did our part to keep Colombian cartels in business 30-plus years ago.
Anyone may favor legalization, but don’t swallow any false tales of its harmlessness.
And don’t let anyone deny the waves of new users we will see. There is precisely one thing standing between millions of people and their first bong hit: the law. Most people do not want to break the law. It takes a special level of foolishness to suggest the removal of that obstacle will not bring wide experimentation.
That will in turn bring an erosion of the second obstacle: its cost. My libertarian love of free markets teaches that broad legal availability of pot will bring sizable price drops that will make it easily available to all kinds of stupid young adults who have heard only the appeal of getting high.
“Tax it and regulate it,” supporters say, as if that offers benefits to outweigh the cost of another intoxicant allowed into our midst. We all know alcohol abuse has a deep price. That is actually part of my objection to legal pot in an era filled with too much drunkenness and pill-popping.
Ask any advocate to name one societal benefit of the legalization of more drugs. They cannot.
If they wrap their argument in the precious cloth of liberty, remind them the freedom to get high is nowhere in the Constitution, but this is: the right to aggregately pass laws to allow or disallow whatever we wish toward the goal of a better nation.
That, too, is freedom. As countless other restraints are cast off in our headlong rush toward today’s twisted sense of modern enlightenment, this is one we should rediscover.
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