Pubdate: Thu, 24 Oct 2002
Source: Las Vegas City Life (NV)
Copyright: 2002sLas Vegas City Life
Author: Chris Buors
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Nevadans for Responsible Law
Bookmark: (Question 9 (NV))


In reply to policeman/letter writer Stephen Lawrence, who opined that we 
should keep marijuana illegal for the sake of our children [Letters, "Keep 
pot illegal for the sake of our kids," Oct. 3]: Did he mean for the sake of 
keeping marijuana available to our kids? Because that is what the policy of 
prohibition begets. The black market has no age restrictions and drug users 
are unlikely to respect any moralizing law.

Let me start by saying that it would have startled Thomas Jefferson, not to 
mention Aristotle, this notion that the state protects children from 
noxious substances. Who protects the children from all the noxious 
substances in the garden shed and under the sinks? Parents protect the 
children, they have since time began and they will until time ends.

And if it's virtue that you worry about, policeman Lawrence, ask yourself 
if drug prohibition lives up to the four cardinal virtues of St. Thomas 
Aquinas. Prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude are those virtues, and 
prohibition fails on all accounts.

Perhaps the police have been protecting children just a little too long 
already, because from my perspective of classic liberalism, the policeman 
as guardian of virtue in America is eerily reminiscent of the role of the 
Gestapo. After all, the Gestapo just wanted to instill the "right" morals 
in the youth too. In that respect, where the Germans were waging a war of 
racial hygiene, the Americans can be said to be waging a war of moral 
hygiene - and frankly one is just as ugly as the other.

I would like to leave policeman Lawrence with one last thought from another 
classic liberal from the past. "Were the government to prescribe to us our 
medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are 
now. Thus in France the emetic was once forbidden as a medicine, and the 
potato as an article of food. Government is just as infallible, too, when 
it fixes systems in physics. Galileo was sent to the Inquisition for 
affirming that the Earth was a sphere. ... It is error alone which needs 
the support of government. Truth can stand by itself," said Jefferson.

Chris Buors

Winnipeg, Manitoba
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