Pubdate: Wed, 12 Feb 2014
Source: Dallas Morning News (TX)
Copyright: 2014 The Dallas Morning News, Inc.
Author: Mark Davis


Name One Societal Benefit of Legalizing Marijuana, Mark Davis 
Challenges. You Can't.

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 

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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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom